The genetic diversity among 20 field isolates of Bradyrhizobium japonicum serogroup 123 was examined by using restriction endonuclease digestions, one-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of total cell proteins, Southern hybridization analysis of nif and nod genes, and intrinsic antibiotic resistance profiles. All of the isolates were previously separated into three broad nodulation classes (low, medium, and high) based on their ability to form symbioses with specific soybean genotypes. Results of our studies indicate that there is a relationship between these three genotype-specific nodulation classes and groupings that have been made based on genomic DNA digestion patterns, sodium dodecyl sulfate-protein profiles, and Southern hybridizations to a nifHD gene probe. Intrinsic antibiotic resistance profiles and nodAB gene hybridizations were not useful in determining interrelationships between isolates and nodulation classes. Southern hybridizations revealed that two of the isolates had reiterated nod genes; however, there was no correlation between the presence of extra nodAB genes and the nodulation classes or symbiotic performance on permissive soybean genotypes. Hybridizations with the nif gene probe indicated that there is a relationship among serogroup, nodulation class, and the physical organization of the genome.