PCR fingerprinting of whole genomes: The spacers between the 16s and 23S rRNA genes and of intergenic tRNA gene regions reveal a different intraspecific genomic variability of Bacillus cereus and Bacillus licheniformis

Daniele Daffonchio*, Sara Borin, Giuseppe Frova, Pier Luigi Manachini, Claudia Sorlini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Genomic diversity in 21 strains of Bacillus cereus and 10 strains of Bacillus licheniformis was investigated by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis, which samples the whole genome, and by two PCR fingerprinting techniques sampling the hypervariable spacers between the conserved 16S and 23S rRNA genes of the rRNA gene operon (ITS-PCR) and regions between tRNA genes (tDNA-PCR). RAPD analysis showed a remarkable diversity among strains of B. cereus that was not observed with the rRNA and tRNA intergenic-spacer-targeted PCR, where all the strains showed practically identical fingerprints. A wide variability among the B. cereus strains was also observed in the plasmid profiles, suggesting that the genetic diversity within B. cereus species can arise from plasmid transfer. One contribution to the diversity detected by RAPD analysis was determined by the presence of large extrachromosomal elements that were amplified during RAPD analysis as shown by Southern hybridization experiments. In contrast to the strains of B. cereus, the 10 strains of B. licheniformis were grouped into two clusters which were the same with all the methods employed. The 16S rRNA genes were identical in all 10 strains when examined using single strand conformation polymorphism analysis after digestion with AluI and RsaI. From these data we hypothesize two different evolutionary schemes for the two species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Systematic Bacteriology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


  • Bacillus cereus
  • Bacillus licheniformis
  • Genomic variability
  • PCR fingerprinting
  • RRNA gene spacers
  • TRNA intergenic regions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology

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