Genetic discovery in Xylella fastidiosa through sequence analysis of selected randomly amplified polymorphic DNAs
Xylella fastidiosa causes many important plant diseases including Pierce's disease (PD) in grape and almond leaf scorch disease (ALSD). DNA-based methodologies, such as randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis, have been playing key roles in genetic information collection of the bacterium. This study further analyzed the nucleotide sequences of selected RAPDs from X. fastidiosa strains in conjunction with the available genome sequence databases and unveiled several previously unknown novel genetic traits. These include a sequence highly similar to those in the phage family of Podoviridae. Genome comparisons among X. fastidiosa strains suggested that the "phage" is currently active. Two other RAPDs were also related to horizontal gene transfer: one was part of a broadly distributed cryptic plasmid and the other was associated with conjugal transfer. One RAPD inferred a genomic rearrangement event among X. fastidiosa PD strains and another identified a single nucleotide polymorphism of evolutionary value.