Summary: Isolation of spp. in marine mammals has been reported during the past several years. A strain from the spleen and liver of a minke whale () was isolated. Conventional typing methods indicated that this isolate was related to the genus but did not match the profiles of any known species or biovar. Successful PCR amplification of the Brucella spacer sequence and of the insertion sequence IS6501 also indicated that the minke whale strain was related to the genus . In addition, the gene of this strain shared a very high degree of nucleotide identity (>98%) with published spp. sequences. However, RFLP studies using an IS6501-specific probe showed a unique profile for this strain in comparison with the profiles of the six known species. Moreover, analysis of the locus by PCR-RFLP, by Southern hybridization using - and -specific probes, and by DNA sequencing showed that the minke whale isolate possesses two copies of the gene instead of one and one gene copy or two copies of the gene described in the six known species. Thus, molecular typing methods showed that this isolate is clearly distinct from all other known species and strains. The specific molecular features of this minke whale isolate raise questions about the lineage between the strains isolated from marine mammals and the species isolated from terrestrial mammals.


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