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Reiterated DNA sequences in Rhizobium and Agrobacterium spp.

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  • Research Article
  • Biology


Repeated DNA sequences are a general characteristic of eucaryotic genomes. Although several examples of DNA reiteration have been found in procaryotic organisms, only in the case of the archaebacteria Halobacterium halobium and Halobacterium volcanii [C. Sapienza and W. F. Doolittle, Nature (London) 295:384-389, 1982], has DNA reiteration been reported as a common genomic feature. The genomes of two Rhizobium phaseoli strains, one Rhizobium meliloti strain, and one Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain were analyzed for the presence of repetitive DNA. Rhizobium and Agrobacterium spp. are closely related soil bacteria that interact with plants and that belong to the taxonomical family Rhizobiaceae. Rhizobium species establish a nitrogen-fixing symbiosis in the roots of legumes, whereas Agrobacterium species is a pathogen in different plants. The four strains revealed a large number of repeated DNA sequences. The family size was usually small, from 2 to 5 elements, but some presented more than 10 elements. Rhizobium and Agrobacterium spp. contain large plasmids in addition to the chromosomes. Analysis of the two Rhizobium strains indicated that DNA reiteration is not confined to the chromosome or to some plasmids but is a property of the whole genome.

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