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J Clin Microbiol. Aug 1992; 30(8): 2084–2087.
PMCID: PMC265447

Molecular epidemiology of Pseudomonas cepacia determined by polymerase chain reaction ribotyping.


Traditional ribotyping detects genomic restriction fragment length polymorphisms by probing chromosomal DNA with rRNA. Although it is a powerful method for determining the molecular epidemiology of bacterial pathogens, technical difficulties limit its application. As an alternative, polymorphisms were sought in the 16S-23S spacer regions of bacterial rRNA genes by use of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Chromosomal DNA from isolates of Pseudomonas cepacia was used as a template in the PCR with oligonucleotide primers complementary to highly conserved sequences flanking the spacer regions of the rRNA genes. Length polymorphisms in the amplified DNA distinguished unrelated isolates of P. cepacia. Isolates of P. cepacia previously implicated in person-to-person transmission were shown to have identical amplification patterns. These data demonstrate the utility of this new PCR ribotyping method for determining the molecular epidemiology of bacterial species.

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