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Avian Dis. 1998 Jul-Sep;42(3):431-51.

Molecular typing of avian Escherichia coli isolates by random amplification of polymorphic DNA.

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Department of Avian Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, USA.


Escherichia coli is a common inhabitant of the gastrointestinal tract of most animals. Like most pathogenic E. coli, avian isolates cannot be distinguished biochemically from the normal commensals inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract of birds. Using a molecular approach, we were able to identify genetic differences among avian E. coli isolates by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Several different RFLPs were observed among avian E. coli isolates using DNA probes for 16S ribosomal RNA genes (rrn) and insertion sequence elements (IS2). We were also able to observe differences in DNA banding patterns generated by RAPD analysis. Similarities and differences among avian E. coli were discernible using RFLPs and RAPD analysis, whereas conventional bacteriological methods failed to differentiate these isolates. Based on RAPD patterns, avian E. coli appear to be genetically diverse. Of 16 different RAPD types (RT) encountered, 84% of E. coli fell into seven major RTs. One RT was present in clinical isolates but absent from the commensals isolated in this study. Many of these different E. coli RTs were not geographically restricted to northern Georgia but were also observed in other southern states in the United States. Resistance to various antibiotics was randomly associated with different E. coli RTs. Sarafloxacin resistance was present among different E. coli RTs, suggesting that antibiotic usage is not selecting for a clonal population in avian E. coli. RAPD provides a rapid and powerful tool to study the epidemiology of avian E. coli.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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