Twenty-two genospecies belonging mainly to Mesorhizobium, and occasionally to Rhizobium and Bradyrhizobium, were defined among the 174 rhizobia strains isolated from Caragana species. Highly similar nodC genes were found in the sole Bradyrhizobium strain and among all the detected Mesorhizobium strains. A clear correlation between rhizobial genospecies and the eco-regions where they were isolated was found using homogeneity analysis. All these results demonstrated that Caragana species had stringently selected the rhizobia symbiotic genotype, but not the genomic background; lateral transfer of symbiotic genes from Mesorhizobium to Bradyrhizobium and among the Mesorhizobium species has happened in the Caragana rhizobia; and biogeography of Caragana rhizobia exists. Furthermore, a combined cluster analysis, based upon the patterns obtained from amplified 16S rRNA gene and 16S-23S intergenic spacer restriction analyses, BOX PCR and SDS-PAGE of proteins, was reported to be an efficient method to define the genospecies. © 2008 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
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