Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was used to examine chromosomal DNA from various strains of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans: these were the reference strain VKM-458, strains isolated from different environments and pilot plants for processing gold-bearing concentrates, and strains experimentally adapted to high zinc and arsenic concentrations in growth medium. The restriction endonuclease digested VKM-458 chromosomal DNA into a number of fragments sufficient for identification of their size and calculation of the size of the entire genome (2855/pm44 kb). Restriction fragment length polymorphism of the chromosomal DNA in various strains suggests the usefulness of this approach for analysis of the diversity of strains and for the study of strain stability under conditions of industrial utilization. A comparison of -restriction patterns in parent strains and in strains with acquired enhanced resistance to zinc or arsenic revealed amplification of certain fragments in the resistant strains, i.e. a 98 kb fragment in strain TFZ and a 28 kb fragment in strain VKM-458As2. We suggest that the enhanced resistance to toxic metals in is gained through increase of the copy number of resistance genes and enhanced synthesis of proteins involved in resistance.


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