The phylogenetic relationships of all validly described species of the genus and the type strain of were analyzed by sequencing and comparing 16S ribosomal DNAs (rDNAs). The two genera exhibited a mean sequence similarity value of 96.6%, corresponding to differences at 50 nucleotide positions on average. The species of the genus exhibited relatively high levels of overall sequence similarity; the mean similarity value was 98.2%, which corresponds to an average of 14 mutual nucleotide differences. Within the genus , a group containing , and clustered apart from the main core, whereas formed a third phylogenetic lineage. Due to the very restricted variability in 16S rDNA sequences within the genus , rDNA signatures that have possible diagnostic value for differentiating the species could not be determined with certainty. When sequence similarities were compared with DNA-DNA pairing data determined previously, there was only a limited correlation. This illustrates the different resolving powers of the techniques for determining phylogenetic hierarchies and for species delineation.


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