Differentiation of Species and Populations of Aphelenchoides and of Ditylenchus angustus Using a Fragment of Ribosomal DNA


  • S. K. Ibrahim
  • R. N. Perry
  • P. R. Burrows
  • D. J. Hooper


The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to amplify a fragment of the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) from species and undescribed populations of Aphelenchoides and Ditylenchus augustus. The PCR primers used were based on conserved sequences in the 18S and 26S ribosomal RNA genes of Caenorhabditis elegans. In C. elegans, these primers amplify a 1,292 base pair (bp) fragment, which consists of the two internal transcribed spacers and the entire 5.8S gene. Amplification products from crude DNA preparations of 12 species and populations of Aphelenchoides and from D. augustus ranged in size from approximately 860-1,100bp. Southern blots probed with a cloned ribosomal repeat from C. elegans confirmed the identity of these amplified bands as ribosomal fragments. In addition to the differing sizes of the amplified rDNA fragments, the relative intensity of hybridization with the C. elegans probe indicated varying degrees of sequence divergence between species and populations. In some cases, amplified rDNA from the fungal host was evident. Storage of A. composticola at - 45 C for 2 years did not affect the ability to obtain appropriate amplified products from crude DNA preparations. Amplified rDNA fragments were cut with six restriction enzymes, and the restriction fragments produced revealed useful diagnostic differences between species and some undescribed populations. These results were consistent with previous studies based on morphology and isoenzymes. Three undescribed populations of Aphelenchoides were found to be different from all the species examined and from each other. Key words: Aphelenchoides, Ditylenchus, fungi, nematode, PCR, rDNA.