is a pathogenic yeast species closely related to . However, it is less frequently associated with human disease and displays reduced virulence in animal models of infection. Here comparative genomic hybridization was used in order to assess why is apparently less virulent than . In these experiments the genomes of the two species were compared by co-hybridizing microarrays with fluorescently labelled and genomic DNA. genomic DNA was found to hybridize reproducibly to 95·6 % of gene-specific sequences, indicating a significant degree of nucleotide sequence homology (>60 %) in these sequences. The remaining 4·4 % of sequences (representing 247 genes) gave / normalized fluorescent signal ratios that indicated significant sequence divergence (<60 % homology) or absence in . Sequence divergence was identified in several genes (confirmed by Southern blot analysis and sequence analysis of PCR products) with putative virulence functions, including the gene encoding the hypha-specific human transglutaminase substrate Hwp1p. Poor hybridization of genomic DNA to the array sequences for the secreted aspartyl proteinase-encoding gene also led to the finding that was absent in and that this species possesses only one gene homologous to and of . In addition, divergence and absence of sequences in several gene families was identified, including a family of -like GPI-anchored proteins, a family of genes homologous to a putative transcriptional activator () and several genes. This study has confirmed the close relatedness of and and has identified a subset of unique genes that may contribute to the increased prevalence and virulence of this species.


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