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Microb Drug Resist. 2000 Fall;6(3):231-8.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: phylogenetic relatedness between European epidemic clones and Swiss sporadic strains.

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Division autonome de médecine préventive hospitalière, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Erratum in

  • Microb Drug Resist 2001 Spring;7(1):97.


We have compared the phylogenetic diversity of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains from Switzerland and their phylogenetic relationships with European epidemic clones, using multiprimer random amplification polymorphic DNA (RAPD). Strains included 24 European epidemic clones (59 strains), 66 sporadic strains isolated in Switzerland in 1996-1997, and 15 reference strains of five other Staphylococcus species. Similarity and clustering analysis with the Jaccard's coefficient showed that the maximum genetic distance between MRSA strains was 0.43, whereas the minimum genetic distance between the six Staphylococcus species was 0.97, indicating that the method permits phylogenetic hierarchization. The 24 MRSA clones reported to be epidemic in European countries during the 1990s were distributed into seven different genetic clusters with a maximum distance of 0.29 among them. This clustering pattern was confirmed by the analysis of a subset of MRSA strains by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis at 12 loci. Most of the sporadic Swiss strains were distributed into these seven different genetic clusters, together with the epidemic MRSA clones. This suggests that there is no phylogenetic cluster specific to epidemic clones of MRSA.

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