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    The diversity of uncultured Frankia populations in root nodules of Alnus oblongifolia trees geographically isolated on mountaintops of central Arizona was analyzed by comparative sequence analyses of nifH gene fragments. Sequences were retrieved from Frankia populations in nodules of four trees from each of three mountaintops (n = 162) and their levels of diversity compared using spatial genetic clustering methods and single-nucleotide or 1, 3, or 5% sequence divergence thresholds. With the single-nucleotide threshold level, 45 different sequences with significant differences between the mountaintops were retrieved, with the southern site partitioning in a separate population from the two other sites. Some of these sequences were identical in nodules from different mountaintops and to those of strains isolated from around the world. A high level of diversity that resulted in the assignment of 14 clusters of sequences was also found on the 1% divergence level. Single-nucleotide and 1% divergence levels thus demonstrate microdiversity of frankiae in root nodules of A. oblongifolia trees and suggest a partitioning of diversity by site. At the 3 and 5% divergence levels, however, diversity was reduced to three clusters or one cluster, respectively, with no differentiation by mountaintop. Only at the 5% threshold level do all Frankia strains previously assigned to one genomic group cluster together.

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    Welsh, Allana K.; Dawson, Jeffrey O.; Gottfried, Gerald J.; Hahn, Dittmar. 2009. Diversity of Frankia populations in root nodules of geographically isolated Arizona alder trees in central Arizona (United States). Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 75(21): 6913-6918.


    Frankia, Alnus oblongifolia, Arizona alder trees

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