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Mol Mar Biol Biotechnol. 1997 Sep;6(3):180-8.

Sulfur-oxidizing symbionts have not co-evolved with their hydrothermal vent tube worm hosts: an RFLP analysis.

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Section of Microbiology, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.


A fine-scale phylogenetic comparison was made among the symbionts of different genera of hydrothermal vent tube worms. These included Riftia pachyptila and Tevnia jerichonona, which inhabit sites along the east Pacific Rise, and Ridgeia piscesae from the Juan de Fuca Ridge. An analysis of restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) was employed using three symbiont-specific gene probes: eubacterial 16S rRNA, RuBPC/O Form II, and ATP sulfurylase (recently cloned from the Riftia symbiont). Results indicated that all of the symbionts from the three different hosts were conspecific and the Riftia and Tevnia symbionts were indistinguishable over and 1800-km range. Significantly, this indicates that the symbionts have not co-evolved with their respective hosts, which are known to belong to separate families. This study strongly supports the conclusion that the symbionts are acquired de novo by each generation of juvenile tube worms from a common source in the surrounding sea water.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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