PCR amplification of the small subunit (SSU) rDNA gene of 40 isolates of revealed four length polymorphisms. PCR-RFLP analysis of the SSU rDNA gene divided the isolates into four categories similar, but not identical, to categories identified by Southern-RFLP analysis. Nucleotide sequence analysis revealed that isolates in three of the four SSU rDNA (18S) categories possess an intron of 363 bp, 1185 bp or 1423 bp at the NS 7 priming site. Isolates in the fourth category do not possess an intron. The nucleotide sequences of these introns did not contain the core elements characteristic of typical group I introns, nor did they exhibit a group I intron secondary structure. Homology between the introns indicates a common lineage, all three possibly having come from a larger intron and having been formed by subsequent deletions. PCR primers upstream of the SSU rDNA intron region and from within the internal transcribed spacer 1 region amplify a product specific to , which will confirm the identity of the pathogen and reveal its 18S category in a single reaction.


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