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Multilocus sequence analysis, a rapid and accurate identification tool for taxonomic classification, evolutionary relationship and population biology of the genus Shewanella.
The genus Shewanella comprises a group of marine-dwelling species with worldwide distribution. Several species are regarded as causative agents of food spoilage and opportunistic pathogens of human diseases. In this study, a standard multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) based on six protein-coding genes (gyrA, gyrB, infB, recN, rpoA and topA) was established as a rapid and accurate identification tool in fifty-nine type Shewanella strains. This method yielded sufficient resolving power in regard to enough informative sites, adequate sequence divergences and distinct interspecies branches. The stability of phylogenetic topology was supported by high bootstrap values and concordance with different methods. The reliability of the MLSA scheme was further validated by identical phylogenies and high correlations of genomes. The MLSA approach provided a robust system to exhibit evolutionary relationships in the Shewanella genus. The split network tree proposed twelve distinct monophyletic clades with identical G+C contents and high genetic similarities. Eighty-six tested strains were investigated to explore the population biology of the Shewanella genus in China. The most prevalent Shewanella species were Shewanella algae, Shewanella xiamenensis, Shewanella chilikensis, Shewanella indica, Shewanella seohaensis and Shewanella carassii. The strains frequently isolated from clinical and food samples highlighted the importance of increasing the surveillance of Shewanella species. Combined with the genetic, genomic and phenotypic analyses, Shewanella upenei should be considered a synonym of S. algae, and Shewanella pacifica should be reclassified as a synonym of Shewanella japonica.
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