. Fifty-nine epidemiologically unrelated methicillin-resistant (MRSA) isolates from different geographical areas and 23 phage-type 77 MRSA isolates from France were investigated. Cellular DNA, digested with restriction endonucleases RI or dIII, was probed with plasmids carrying the gene encoding 16S rRNA (pBA2), the gene A-D (pSF815A) and the gene A-D plus part of IS256 (pIP 1307). When probed with pBA2, most of the unrelated isolates displayed the same hybridisation pattern. A greater diversity in patterns was detected in gentamicin-resistant strains with the two other probes. The most accurate fingerprinting of these isolates was obtained with the probe pIP 1307. Moreover, this probe appeared to be useful for tracing the phage-type 77 epidemic MRSA isolates widespread in French hospitals.


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