Microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (M-CGH) is a powerful method for rapidly identifying regions of genome diversity among closely related organisms. We used M-CGH to examine the genome diversity of 17 strains belonging to the nonpathogenic species Bacillus subtilis. Our M-CGH results indicate that there is considerable genetic heterogeneity among members of this species; nearly one-third of Bsu168-specific genes exhibited variability, as measured by the microarray hybridization intensities. The variable loci include those encoding proteins involved in antibiotic production, cell wall synthesis, sporulation, and germination. The diversity in these genes may reflect this organism's ability to survive in diverse natural settings.
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