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Vol. 72, No. 4, 2006, Pages: 2691–2706

Oligonucleotide Array for Identification and Detection of Pythium Species†

J. T. Tambong,1 A. W. A. M. de Cock,2 N. A. Tinker,3 and C. A. Levesque1*

Agriculture and Agri- Food Canada, Environmental Health Program (Biodiversity), 960
Carling Ave., Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6, Canada.


A DNA array containing 172 oligonucleotides complementary to specific diagnostic regions of internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of more than 100 species was developed for identification and detection of Pythium species. All of the species studied, with the exception of Pythium ostracodes, exhibited a positive hybridization reaction with at least one corresponding species-specific oligonucleotide. Hybridization patterns were distinct for each species. The array hybridization patterns included cluster-specific oligonucleotides that facilitated the recognition of species, including new ones, belonging to groups such as those producing filamentous or globose sporangia. BLAST analyses against 500 publicly available Pythium sequences in GenBank confirmed that species-specific oligonucleotides were unique to all of the available strains of each species, of which there were numerous economically important ones. GenBank entries of newly described species that are not putative synonyms showed no homology to sequences of the spotted species-specific oligonucleotides, but most new species did match some of the cluster-specific oligonucleotides. Further verification of the specificity of the DNA array was done with 50 additional Pythium isolates obtained by soil dilution plating. The hybridization patterns obtained were consistent with the identification of these isolates based on morphology and ITS sequence analyses. In another blind test, total DNA of the same soil samples was amplified and hybridized on the array, and the results were compared to those of 130 Pythium isolates obtained by soil dilution plating and root baiting. The 13 species detected by the DNA array corresponded to the isolates obtained by a combination of soil dilution plating and baiting, except for one new species that was not represented on the array. We conclude that the reported DNA array is a reliable tool for identification and detection of the majority of Pythium species in environmental samples. Simultaneous detection and identification of multiple species of soilborne pathogens such as Pythium species could be a major step forward for epidemiological and ecological studies.

Keywords: Pythium species; Pythium ostracodes; Pythium sequences;Oligonucleotide Array;DNA array;internal transcribed spacers;taxonomy.

Corresponding author: Tel.: (613) 759-1579. Fax: (613) 759-1701

E-mail: levesqueca@agr.gc.ca


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