The 16S rRNA gene sequences of reference strains of suis serotypes 1–34 and 1/2 were determined. A comparative sequence analysis showed that the degree of sequence similarity between reference strains ranged from 93·94 to 100%. A dendrogram was constructed from the similarity matrix. Thirty-two strains representing 32 serotypes fell into a major group divided into three clusters. The other strains, serotypes 32, 33 and 34, were more distant. Biochemical characterization of the six more distant strains, including serotypes 20, 22, 26, 32, 33 and 34, revealed a profile similar to that of other serotypes. Comprison of the 16S rRNA gene sequences of reference strains with sequences of other members of the genus indicated that, with the exception of serotypes 32, 33 and 34, reference strains did not cluster with any other species in the genus. In conclusion, 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis defined a major group of reference strains which were very closely related and a higher divergence for serotypes 32, 33 and 34. However, to date, there is no strong evidence to reclassify strains of these serotypes in another species.


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