An insertion of about 100 bases within the central part of the 23S rRNA genes was found to be a phylogenetic marker for the bacterial line of descent of Gram-positive bacteria with a high DNA G+C content. The insertion was present in 23S rRNA genes of 64 strains representing the major phylogenetic groups of Gram-positive bacteria with a high DNA G+C content, whereas it was not found in 23S rRNA genes of 55 (eu)bacteria representing Gram-positive bacteria with a low DNA G+C content and all other known (eu)bacterial phyla. The presence of the insertion could be easily demonstrated by comparative gel electrophoretic analysis of -amplified 23S rDNA fragments, which contained the insertion. The nucleotide sequences of the amplified fragments were determined and sequence similarities of at least 44% were found. The overall similarity values are lower than those of 16S and 23S rRNA sequences of the particular organism. Northern hybridization experiments indicated the presence of the insertion within the mature 23S rRNA of .


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