SUMMARY: Plasmid DNA from six strains of was separated by agarose gel electrophoresis and showed a large variation in the number and size of the plasmids. Blotting on to nitrocellulose and hybridization with a probe containing (nitrogen fixation) genes from demonstrated that all strains contain only one plasmid carrying genes. The molecular weights of the plasmids ranged between approximately 130 x 10 and 550 x 10. Using DNA-DNA hybridization no homologous sequences were detected between the plasmid of strain PRE and the other plasmid present in this strain. Hybridizations with RNA from bacteroids showed that only the plasmid is strongly expressed in the endosymbiotic state. No selective amplification of plasmid DNA occurs during the transition of free-living bacteria into bacteroids.


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