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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1998 Aug 15;165(2):341-6.

In vitro genotypic variation of Campylobacter coli documented by pulsed-field gel electrophoretic DNA profiling: implications for epidemiological studies.

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Danish Veterinary Laboratory, Copenhagen V, Denmark.


Six isolates of Campylobacter coli from different pig herds were subcultured up to 50 times over a 6-month period and DNA samples suitable for pulsed-field gel electrophoretic (PFGE) profiling prepared at regular (1, 20, 40 and 50 passages) intervals. In 5/6 strains, changes in the banding patterns of Sma1, Sal1 and/or BamH1 digests were observed. In one such strain the differences were considered artifactual. However, significant alterations in PFGE profiles between subcultures of four strains were seen, irrespective of the restriction enzyme used. Spontaneous intramolecular genomic rearrangements were considered the most likely mechanism for the changes observed. A numerical analysis based upon the combined distribution of Sma1- and sal1-derived fragments clustered most strain subcultures together, with the exception of those from one isolate which were divided into two clusters. The effect of spontaneous genetic change on PFGE profiles must be considered when evaluating strain relationships. Numerical techniques may aid data interpretation but results must be evaluated cautiously.

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