The phylogenetic relationships among species that nodulate (common bean) were determined by directly sequencing the amplified 16S ribosomal DNA genes of these organisms. The bean strains formed four separate clusters. One cluster was composed of bv. trifolii, bv. viciae, and bv. phaseoli. Two other clusters comprised and , and the fourth cluster contained a single bean-nodulating strain. Data for species identification were obtained from DNA-DNA reassociation experiments. The levels of DNA relatedness among strains belonging to the three biovars of ranged from 58 to 67%. The levels of DNA relatedness between bv. phaseoli and and ranged from 43 to 45% and 13 to 16%, respectively. The levels of DNA relatedness between the strain belonging to the fourth cluster and strains of the other three species that nodulate beans were less than 10%.


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