Comparative genomic analyses identify the Vibrio harveyi genome sequenced strains BAA-1116 and HY01 as Vibrio campbellii

Environ Microbiol Rep. 2010 Feb;2(1):81-89. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-2229.2009.00100.x.


Three notable members of the Harveyi clade, Vibrio harveyi, Vibrio alginolyticus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus, are best known as marine pathogens of commercial and medical import. In spite of this fact, the discrimination of Harveyi clade members remains difficult due to genetic and phenotypic similarities, and this has led to misidentifications and inaccurate estimations of a species' involvement in certain environments. To begin to understand the underlying genetics that complicate species level discrimination, we compared the genomes of Harveyi clade members isolated from different environments (seawater, shrimp, corals, oysters, finfish, humans) using microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) and multilocus sequence analyses (MLSA). Surprisingly, we found that the only two V. harveyi strains that have had their genomes sequenced (strains BAA-1116 and HY01) have themselves been misidentified. Instead of belonging to the species harveyi, they are actually members of the species campbellii. In total, 28% of the strains tested were found to be misidentified and 42% of these appear to comprise a novel species. Taken together, our findings correct a number of species misidentifications while validating the ability of both CGH and MLSA to distinguish closely related members of the Harveyi clade.