The taxonomic position of Phaseolus vulgaris rhizobial strains with available sequenced genomes was examined. Phylogenetic analyses with concatenated conserved genomic fragments accounting for over half of each genome showed that Rhizobium strains CIAT 652, Ch24-10 (newly reported genome) and CNPAF 512 constituted a well-supported group independent from Rhizobium etli CFN 42(T). DNA-DNA hybridization results indicated that CIAT 652, Ch24-10 and CNPAF 512 could correspond to R. etli, although the hybridization values were at the borderline that distinguishes different species. In contrast, experimental hybridization results were higher (over 80%) with Rhizobium phaseoli type strain ATCC 14482(T) in congruence to phylogenetic and ANIm analyses. The latter criterion allowed the reclassification of R. etli strains 8C-3 and Brasil5 as R. phaseoli. It was therefore concluded, based on all the evidence, that the CIAT 652, Ch24-10, and CNPAF 512 strains should be reclassified as R. phaseoli in spite of several common features linking them to R. etli. The R. phaseoli and R. etli speciation process seems to be a more recent event than the speciation that has occurred among other sister species, such as R. leguminosarum-R. etli or R. rhizogenes-R. tropici.
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