Temperate bacteriophages SBβ, ø3T and SPR and phage H2 were compared with respect to DNA-DNA homology by Southern blot analysis to each other and to members of the genus . The results show that H2 is a distantly related member of the group III phages. Detectable homology to group III phages could be found in the DNA of several other species, including and , demonstrating the widespread occurrence of this group of phages. The host ranges for the phages SPβ, SPR and H2 were determined by adsorption efficiency and by the ability of erythromycin resistance- and chloramphenicol resistance-transducing phages to convert susceptible host strains. Of the three phages examined, only H2 was capable of infecting . Based on these results we propose that group III phages should be divided into three subgroups: SPβ, ø3T, Rho11, IG1, IG3 and Z (subgroup 1), SPR (subgroup 2) and H2 (subgroup 3).

Keyword(s): Bacillus sp. , genome homology and phage

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