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he genetic diversity of
genotypes isolated from 201 cattle and sheep in 8 regions of
Southern Italy in 2011 was determined using 16 VNTR loci in a MLVA-16 methodology. The existence of possible genetic
clusters was verified through a hierarchical cluster analysis based on 'single link' which is closely related to the minimal spanning
tree. The Hammington weighted distance matrix was adopted in the analysis. All calculations were performed using R and the
additional lybraries phangorn. For a number of clusters ranging from 2 to 15 the average silhouette width has been calculated.
The number of clusters adopted was identified according to the maximum average silhouette width. For
6 and 11 genetic clusters were respectively identified. Three out of six
clusters include 96.7% of
isolates and they are clearly geographically separated, highlighting known epidemiological links among them.
genotypes resulted more heterogeneous and the three more representative genetic clusters include 79.7% of all
isolates. A clear geographical clusterization of genotypes is recognizable only for one cluster, whereas the others are
more widespread across Southern Italy. The genetic characterization of
strains isolated from animals may be a useful tool
for better understanding the epidemiology and dissemination patterns of this pathogen through host populations.
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