The 16S ribosomal DNAs (rDNAs) of two strains of and one strain of were sequenced. On the basis of phylogenetic analysis data, the genus was placed in the γ subclass of the . The most closely related organism was the intracellular bacterium . The sequenced 16S rDNA molecules of the species exhibited very high levels of similarity (98.5 to 99.9%). Two variable regions, comprising 390 to 450 nucleotides of the 16S rDNA molecules of 17 additional strains, including members of the species and , were also sequenced. At most, six nucleotide differences were observed among the sequences of the strains. The sequence of was virtually identical to the sequences of the strains, thereby supporting the hypothesis that these organisms are members of the same species. On the basis of the observed differences, primer pairs were designed to distinguish strains by using the PCR at the genus, species, and subspecies levels. This permitted sensitive identification of strains belonging to the genus and discrimination of the species and .


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