A rapid method for genotyping based on PCR-fingerprinting with fluorescent primers was evaluated. Automated laser fluorescence analysis (ALFA) enabled on-line generation of high resolution DNA-fingerprints during poly-acrylamide gel electrophoresis of randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) products. The results were in concordance with macro-restriction fragment patterns produced by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of ApaI digests of chromosomal DNA. RAPD-ALFA was able to identify homologous strains suggestive of horizontal transmission in < 8 h after colonies were obtained on solid media, whereas PFGE analysis took c. 90 h. Speed and digitised data format renders RAPD-ALFA attractive for routine in-house epidemiological screening of isolates from intensive care and other hospital units.


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