DNA was isolated from clover proliferation (CP) mycoplasmalike organism (MLO)-diseased periwinkle plants (Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don.) and cloned into pSP6 plasmid vectors. CP MLO-specific recombinant DNA clones were biotin labeled and used as probes in dot hybridization and restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses to study the genetic interrelatedness among CP MLO and other MLOs, including potato witches'-broom (PWB) MLO. Results from dot hybridization analyses indicated that both a Maryland strain of aster yellows and a California strain of aster yellows are distantly related to CP MLO. Elm yellows, paulownia witches'-broom, peanut witches'-broom, loofah witches'-broom, and sweet potato witches'-broom may be very distantly related, if at all, to CP MLO. A new Jersey strain of aster yellows MLO, tomato big bud MLO, clover phyllody MLO, beet leafhopper-transmitted virescence MLO, and ash yellows MLO are related to CP MLO, but PWB MLO is the most closely related. Similarity coefficients derived from restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses revealed that PWB and CP MLOs are closely related strains and thus provided direct evidence of their relatedness in contrast to reliance solely on biological characterization
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