The phylogenetic interrelationships of members of the genera and were investigated by using small-subunit ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequencing. Members of the genus formed a distinct line within the gamma subclass of the also clustered within the confines of the gamma subclass of the but exhibited a closer association with members of the family than with members of the family . Species of the genus exhibited very high levels of overall sequence similarity (ca. 98 to 100%) with each other. Several of the relationships derived from an analysis of the rDNA sequence data were in marked disagreement with the results of chromosomal DNA-DNA pairing experiments. Diagnostic rDNA signatures that have possible value for differentiating most species were discerned.


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