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Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis Reveals High Levels of Genetic Divergence among the Light Organ Symbionts of Flashlight Fish

Connie J. Wolfe and Margo G. Haygood
Biological Bulletin
Vol. 181, No. 1 (Aug., 1991), pp. 135-143
DOI: 10.2307/1542496
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1542496
Page Count: 9
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Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis Reveals High Levels of Genetic Divergence among the Light Organ Symbionts of Flashlight Fish
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Abstract

Restriction fragment length polymorphisms within the lux and 16S ribosomal RNA gene regions were used to compare unculturable bacterial light organ symbionts of several anomalopid fish species. The method of Nei and Li (1979) was used to calculate phylogenetic distance from the patterns of restriction fragment lengths of the luxA and 16S rRNA regions. Phylogenetic trees constructed from each distance matrix (luxA and 16S rDNA data) have similar branching orders. The levels of divergence among the symbionts, relative to other culturable luminous bacteria, suggests that the symbionts differ at the level of species among host fish genera. Symbiont relatedness and host geographic location do not seem to be correlated, and the symbionts do not appear to be strains of common, free-living, luminous bacteria. In addition, the small number of hybridizing fragments within the 16S rRNA region of the symbionts, compared with that of the free-living species, suggests a decrease in copy number of rRNA operons relative to free-living species. At this level of investigation, the symbiont phylogeny is consistent with the proposed phylogeny of the host fish family and suggests that each symbiont strain coevolved with its host fish species.

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