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J Clin Microbiol. 2000 Jul;38(7):2516-9.

A 5' nuclease PCR (TaqMan) high-throughput assay for detection of the mecA gene in staphylococci.

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  • 1Hospital Infections Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


In an effort to find a rapid, efficient, and reliable method of screening large numbers of bacterial isolates for specific antimicrobial resistance genes, we compared conventional PCR results to the results generated using the TaqMan 5' nuclease PCR kit in conjunction with an ABI Prism 7700 Sequence Detector for detecting the mecA gene in various species of staphylococci. DNA was extracted using two techniques. The first used a high-salt extraction method suitable for conventional PCR but resulted in a 7.2% rate of PCR inhibition with the TaqMan technique. PCR inhibition could be overcome by diluting samples 1:5 prior to testing. The second method used the Qiagen QIAamp Tissue Kit; no instances of PCR inhibition were encountered with this method. A total of 197 (96%) of the 206 samples with no inhibition showed agreement between the two methods. Eight of the nine disagreements were likely the result of low-level DNA cross contamination caused by frequent specimen handling. Target DNA in all eight of these samples was first detected in the initial tests only after >30 PCR cycles, and all were negative upon repeat testing even after 40 PCR cycles using freshly extracted DNA. Among those positive samples in agreement, target DNA was invariably detected before 30 PCR cycles. The TaqMan assay eliminated the need to load, run, stain, and read agarose gels and provided the advantage of instant detection of PCR product by laser-activated fluorescence. Thus, final results were obtained 2 h after PCR was initiated, as opposed to a requirement of 2 days to examine 96 samples by agarose gel electrophoresis.

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