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The DNA of the first northcentral United States human
Lyme disease isolate, Borrellia burgdorferi NCH-1, was characterized and compared with the DNAs of nine other B. burgdorferi isolates. Strain NCH-1 was isolated in August 1989 from a human skin biopsy specimen. DNA was analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and restriction endonuclease analysis. Contour-clamped homogeneous electric field pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of in situ-lysed cells was performed to compare the plasmid profiles of the various isolates. The plasmid profile of isolate NCH-1, which included five plasmids of approximately 69, 42, 38, 32, and 23 kb, could be distinguished from those of the other isolates examined. The DNA profile of NCH-1 was most similar to those of strain 297 (human cerebrospinal fluid isolate, Connecticut) and strain PAL (human erythema migrans isolate, New York) and most dissimilar from those of strain P/Gau (human erythema migrans isolate, Germany) and strain IPF (Ixodes persulcatus tick isolate, Japan). These results indicate that genetic diversity exists among B. burgdorferi strains isolated from different geographical areas.