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Direct amplification of nodD from community DNA reveals the genetic diversity of Rhizobium leguminosarum in soil

By A Zeze, L A Mutch and J P W Young


Sequences of nodD, a gene found only in rhizobia, were amplified from total community DNA isolated from a pasture soil. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers used, Y5 and Y6, match nodD from Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar trifolii, R. leguminosarum biovar viciae and Sinorhizobium meliloti. The PCR product was cloned and yielded 68 clones that were identified by restriction pattern as derived from biovar trifolii [11 restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) types] and 15 clones identified as viciae (seven RFLP types). These identifications were confirmed by sequencing. There were no clones related to S. meliloti nodD. For comparison, 122 strains were isolated from nodules of white clover (Trifolium repens) growing at the field site, and 134 from nodules on trap plants of T. repens inoculated with the soil. The nodule isolates were of four nodD RFLP types, with 77% being of a single type. All four of these patterns were also found among the clones from soil DNA, and the same type was the most abundant, although it made up only 34% of the trifolii-like clones. We conclude that clover selects specific genotypes from the available soil population, and that R. leguminosarum biovar trifolii was approximately five times more abundant than biovar viciae in this pasture soil, whereas S. meliloti was rare

Year: 2001
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