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ITS-RFLP analysis, an efficient tool for differentiation of Bursaphelenchus species

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For more content, see Nematologica.

Restriction analysis of amplified ribosomal ITS sequences has provided species-specific fragment patterns for nematodes of several genera, including Bursaphelenchus. We used restriction enzymes RsaI, HaeIII, MspI, HinfI and AluI to produce ITS-RFLP reference profiles of 44 Bursaphelenchus species, including two intraspecific types in each of B. mucronatus and B. leoni. In addition, reference profiles of Aphelenchoides stammeri and Ruehmaphelenchus asiaticus were produced. Reference profiles of six species are shown here for the first time. Identical ITS-RFLP patterns were usually obtained from different isolates and from individual specimens of the same species. However, in the case of B. 'corneolus', B. lini, B. singaporensis and B. sexdentati, additional bands in the patterns of certain isolates or individual nematodes were observed which may be explained by ITS sequence microheterogeneity, i.e., the presence of ITS sequence variants within the number of rDNA tandem repeats. Since these 'extra' bands appeared only with one out of the five restriction enzymes employed, they did not seriously impair identification of species based on the overall reference patterns. ITS-RFLP analysis has proved valuable for differentiation of the pathogenic pine wood nematode, B. xylophilus, from related species. In many recent descriptions of new Bursaphelenchus species, ITS-RFLP profiles have been used as additional species identification criteria. Comparison of profiles from isolates of many different origins has provided new information on intraspecific types or genetically distinct provenances of several Bursaphelenchus species.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Epidemiology and Pathogen Diagnostics, Julius Kühn Institute, Messeweg 11, 38104 Braunschweig, Germany; 2: Kantstrasse 5, 14471 Potsdam, Germany; 3: Institute for Biosafety of Genetically Modified Plants, Julius Kühn Institute, Erwin Baur Strasse 27, 06484 Quedlinburg, Germany; 4: Ningbo Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, 9 Mayuan Road, Ningbo, Zhejiang, China; 5: Institute for National and International Plant Health, Julius Kühn Institute, Messeweg 11, 38104 Braunschweig, Germany


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