Abstract: We present draft genome sequences for three strains of Xanthomonas species, each of which was associated with banana plants (Musa species) but is not closely related to the previously sequenced banana-pathogen Xanthomonas campestris pathovar musacearum. Strain NCPPB4393 had been deposited as Xanthomonas campestris pathovar musacearum but in fact falls within the species Xanthomonas sacchari. Strain NCPPB1132 is more distantly related to Xanthomonas sacchari whilst strain NCPPB 1131 grouped in a distinct species-level clade related to X. sacchari, along with strains from ginger, rice, cotton and sugarcane. These three newly sequenced strains share many genomic features with the previously sequenced Xanthomonas albilineans, for example possessing an unsual metE allele and lacking the Hrp type III secretion system. However, they are distinct from Xanthomonas albilineans in many respects, for example showing little evidence of genome reduction. They also lack the SPI-1 type III secretion system found in Genes 2011, 2 1051 Xanthomonas albilineans. Unlike X. albilineans, all three strains possess a gum gene cluster. The data reported here provide the first genome-wide survey of non-Hrp Xanthomonas species other than Xanthomonas albilineans, which is an atypical member of this group. We hope that the availability of complete sequence data for this group of organisms is the first step towards understanding their interactions with plants and identifying potential virulence factors. 

Keywords: banana; Xanthomonas; genome

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The vast majority of the bananas currently grown and consumed were not conventionally bred but are selections made over probably thousands of years from naturally occurring hybrids. Cultivated bananas are very nearly sterile and as a consequence are not propagated from seed but rather through vegetative propagation, primarily suckers as well as more recently micropropagated or tissue cultured bananas. These factors, very old selections, near sterility and vegetative propagation, mean that these bananas have not been genetically improved either for resistance or improved quality and are becoming increasing in affected by serious pests and diseases.

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