The phylogenetic interrelationships of members of the genera Aeromonas and Plesiomonas were investigated by using small-subunit ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequencing. Members of the genus Aeromonas formed a distinct line within the gamma subclass of the Proteobacteria. Plesiomonas shigelloides also clustered within the confines of the gamma subclass of the Proteobacteria but exhibited a closer association with members of the family Enterobacteriaceae than with members of the family Aeromonadaceae. Species of the genus Aeromonas exhibited very high levels of overall sequence similarity (ca. 98 to 100%) with each other. Several of the relationships derived from an analysis of the rDNA sequence data were in marked disagreement with the results of chromosomal DNA-DNA pairing experiments. Diagnostic rDNA signatures that have possible value for differentiating most Aeromonas species were discerned.
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