An investigation of 20 bovine and 24 ovine isolates of organisms variously described as and revealed no consistent host-related differences in 47 biochemical characteristics; however, agarose gel electrophoresis of predominantly plasmid-derived deoxyribonucleic acid demonstrated the presence of variable numbers of plasmids of divergent size in each of the ovine strains but in none of the bovine isolates. Restriction enzyme analysis of deoxyribonucleic acids from an ovine culture and a bovine culture also suggested chromosomal differences. Our observations support the concept of one species, , comprising ovine and bovine isolates, but point to the existence of subspecific divisions related to host predilection.


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