Submitted to: International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The bacterial group called Bacillus subtilis contains organisms having useful properties such as the degradation of starch and protein, production of fermented foods and biochemicals, and use as sterilization standards. However, identifying and differentiating the various organisms associated with the properties can be difficult and costly because they have very similar traits. The present study showed that organisms in the group can be differentiated with probes designed on the basis of genetic materials found in the organisms. Probes provide to researchers (agriculturial and industrial), chemical companies, food manufacturers, and equipment manufacturers methods to economically, positively, and rapidly isolate and identify Bacillus subtilis-like organisms that are important to their work.
Technical Abstract: All living organisms fall into discrete clusters of closely related individuals on the basis of gene sequence similarity. Evolutionary genetic theory predicts that in the bacterial world, each sequence- similarity cluster should correspond to an ecologically distinct population. As predicted, surveys of sequence diversity have shown that sequence-similarity clusters generally correspond to ecological populations. Future population surveys of protein-coding-gene sequences can be expected to disclose many previously unknown ecological populations of bacteria. If bacteriologists were to accept sequence- similarity clustering as a criterion for species demarcation, then species of all categories (both prokaryotic and eukaryotic) could be defined by the same criterion.