The presence or absence of two DNA modification systems, XorI and XorII, in 195 strains of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae collected from different major rice-growing countries of Asia was assessed. All four possible phenotypes (XorI+ XorII+, XorI+ XorII-, XorI- XorII+ and XorI- XorII-) were detected in the population at a ratio of approximately 1:2:2:2. The XorI+ XorII+ and XorI- XorII+ phenotypes were observed predominantly in strains from southeast Asia (Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia), whereas strains with the phenotypes XorI- XorII- and XorI+ XorII- were distributed in south Asia (India and Nepal) and northeast Asia (China, Korea, and Japan), respectively. Based on the prevalence and geographic distribution of the XorI and XorII systems, we suggest that the XorI modification system originated in northeast Asia and was later introduced to southeast Asia, while the XorII system originated in southeast Asia and moved to northeast Asia and south Asia. Genomic DNA from all tested strains of X. oryzae pv. oryzae that were resistant to digestion by endonuclease XorII or its isoschizomer PvuI also hybridized with a 7.0-kb clone that contained the XorII modification system, whereas strains that were digested by XorII or PvuI lacked DNA that hybridized with the clone. Size polymorphisms were observed in fragments that hybridized with the 7.0-kb clone. However, a single hybridization pattern generally was found in XorII+ strains within a country, indicating clonal maintenance of the XorII methyl-transferase gene locus. The locus was monomorphic for X. oryzae pv. oryzae strains from the Philippines and all strains from Indonesia and Korea.
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