Efficacy of flagellin gene typing for epidemiological studies of Campylobacter jejuni in poultry estimated by comparison with macrorestriction profiling

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Thirty isolates of Campylobacter jejuni isolated from 29 different Danish broiler flocks were chosen for the evaluation of PCR-Fla typing as a genotyping tool. Except for two isolates that originated from the same broiler flock, the isolates were clearly distinguishable on basis of their macrorestriction profiles using the restriction endonucleases SmaI and KpnI. PCR-Fla typing of the 30 isolates yielded 16 distinct genotypes, whereas one isolate was untypeable by this method. The dominant PCR-Fla type (1/1) was shared by eight isolates, and five additional Fla groups containing two or three isolates were obtained. The PCR-Fla type of one isolate changed spontaneously after five subcultures, illustrating the relative plasticity of the gene locus. Comparison of MRPs within and between Fla-types support the view that some PCR-Fla types may be conserved within clonal lines. It is concluded that PCR-Fla typing is useful as a genotyping tool in large-scale epidemiological studies but that additional analyses with other methods are required to properly define interstrain relationships.

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