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Using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis we examined the genome of Borrelia burgdorferi, a eubacterium of the spirochete phylum and the agent of
Lyme disease. A population of this species’ cells was lysed in situ in agarose blocks. An abundant DNA form that behaved as a linear duplex molecule under different electrophoretic conditions was found. The estimated size of the molecule was 950 kilobases. DNA from two other genera of spirochetes did not enter the gel under these conditions. These studies indicate that Borrelia spirochetes, perhaps uniquely among prokaryotic organisms, have linear chromosomes.