Genetic variation amongFlavobacterium psychrophilumisolates from wild and farmed salmonids in Norway and Chile

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To aim of the study was to describe the genetic relationship between isolates of Flavobacterium psychrophilum with a main emphasis of samples from Chile and Norway. The isolates have been obtained from farmed salmonids in Norway and Chile, and from wild salmonids in Norway, but isolates from North America and European countries are also included in the analysis.

Methods and Results

The study is based on phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA and seven housekeeping genes (HG), gyrB, atpA, dnaK, trpB, fumC, murG and tuf, and the use of a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) system, based on nucleotide polymorphism in the HG, as an alternative to the phylogenies. The variation within the selected genes was limited, and the phylogenetic analysis gave little resolution between the isolates. The MLST gave a much better resolution resulting in 53 sequence types where the same sequences types could be found in Chile, North America and European countries, and in different host species.


Multilocus sequence typing give a relatively good separation of different isolates of Fl. psychrophilum and show that there are no distinct geographical or host-specific isolates in the studied material from Chile, North America and Europe. Nor was it possible to separate between isolates from ulcers and systemic infections vs isolates from the surface of healthy salmonids.

Significance and Impact of the Study

This study shows a wide geographical distribution of Fl. psychrophilum, indicating that the bacterium has a large potential for transmission over long distances, and between different salmonid hosts species. This knowledge will be important for future management of salmonids diseases connected to Fl. psychrophilum.

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