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J Infect Dis. 1995 Jan;171(1):204-8.

A universal approach to bacterial molecular epidemiology by polymerase chain reaction ribotyping.

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Department of Medicine, Cooper Hospital/University Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Camden, New Jersey.


Oligonucleotide primers complementary to conserved regions of the 16S and 23S ribosomal RNA genes were used to amplify the 16S-23S intergenic spacer region of bacterial pathogens. The amplification patterns produced were compared for their potential use in molecular epidemiologic analysis. This method, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) ribotyping, was applied to isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, Escherichia coli, and Enterobacter species. Length polymorphisms in the amplified DNA distinguished unrelated strains of all bacteria. The banding patterns of 3 S. aureus isolates from the blood of 1 patient on 3 consecutive days were identical. Plasmid analysis, biotyping, and antibiograms were also obtained on the Enterobacter isolates. All three of these methods showed considerable variability after in vitro passage of bacteria, but PCR ribotypes remained stable. Results demonstrate the utility of the conserved primers for PCR ribotyping, a widely applicable method for the molecular epidemiology of genetically diverse bacteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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