A variety of genes and analytical methods have been applied to the study of phylogenetic relationships within the genus Bartonella, but so far the results have been inconsistent. While previous studies analysed single protein-encoding genes, we have analysed an alignment containing the sequences of three important phylogenetic markers, RNase P RNA, 16S rRNA and 23S rRNA, merged by catenation, to determine the phylogenetic relationships within the genus Bartonella. The dataset described here comprises 13 different Bartonella strains, including the seven strains that are known to be human pathogens. A variety of algorithms have been used to construct phylogenetic trees based on the combined alignment and, for comparison purposes, each individual gene. Trees generated from the catenated alignment are more consistent (independent of algorithm) and robust (higher bootstrap support). It is suggested that a phylogenetic analysis incorporating the RNase P RNA, 16S rRNA and 23S rRNA be used to study the phylogenetic relationships within the genus Bartonella.


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