Alignment of DNA sequences downstream from the octameric repeat units. The flanking downstream sequences for each of the 9 VNTR loci from the three sequenced genomes were aligned by the Sequencher 4.0 software program. A consensus sequence, derived by alignment of VNTR Loci 1 through 8, is shown in the top line. The individual sequences are labeled "ab" for B. abortus strain 9–941; "mel" for B. melitensis strain 16M; and "suis" for B. suis strain 1330. Bold letters designate the last octameric repeat unit; lower case indicates divergence from the consensus sequence; colons represent missing nucleotides. An asterisk, "*", below the consensus sequence signifies identity for all Brucella species in all VNTR Loci 1 through 8. The two arrows above the consensus sequence mark the positions of the two reverse primers used for allele amplification. Y = C or T; R = A or G; S = G or C.