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Molecular and morphological characterisation of Xiphinema americanum-group species (Nematoda: Dorylaimida) from California, USA, and other regions, and co-evolution of bacteria from the genus Candidatus Xiphinematobacter with nematodes

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The Xiphinema americanum-group is a large species complex containing more than 50 nematode species. They are economically important because they are vectors of nepoviruses. The species differentiation of X. americanum-group is problematic because the species share similar morphological characters. In the present study we collected nematode samples from different locations in the USA, Italy and Russia. Six valid species, X. americanum s. str., X. brevicolle, X. californicum, X. pachtaicum, X. rivesi and X. simile, and four unidentified putative Xiphinema species were characterised by morphology and sequencing of D2-D3 of 28S rRNA, ITS1 rRNA and mitochondrial COI genes. New nematode sequences generated totalled 147. Phylogenetic relationships of the X. americanum-group species reconstructed by Bayesian inference for D2-D3 of 28S rRNA gene sequences did not provide clear species delimitation of the samples studied, although the mtDNA presented interspecific variations useful for demarcation among species. Xiphinema americanum s. str., X. californicum, X. pachtaicum, X. rivesi, and two unidentified Xiphinema species were found in 72 soil samples from California. We also reconstructed the phylogenetic relationships using partial 16S rRNA gene sequences within endosymbiotic bacteria of the genus Candidatus Xiphinematobacter and provided solid evidence for distinguishing 17 species of this genus based on the analysis of new and previously published sequences. Fifty-five new bacterial sequences were obtained in the present study and comparison of the bacterial 16S rRNA and nematode COI phylogenies revealed a high level of co-speciation events between host and symbiont.

Affiliations: 1: 1Via Giacomo Puccini 14, 90017 Santa Flavia, Italy ; 2: 2Nematology Research Unit, Department of Biology, Ghent University, Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Ghent, Belgium ; 3: 3Plant Pest Diagnostic Center, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 3294 Meadowview Road, Sacramento, CA 95832-1448, USA ; 4: 4Center of Parasitology of A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninskii prospect 33, Moscow 117071, Russia ; 5: 5National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, USDA, ARS, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA

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