The results of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of chromosomal DNA of the same 12 methicillin-resistant (MRSA) strains of diverse geographical origin, performed in three different laboratories were compared; one laboratory used field-inversion gel electrophoresis (FIGE), one used contour clamped homogeneous electrophoresis (CHEF) and one used both (all manufactured by BioRad Laboratories Inc., Hercules, CA, USA). No single method produced the maximum number of chromosomal fragments from all isolates. In only four instances were the same number of fragments identified by any two techniques. Although there were similar trends in strain identification the results showed many discrepancies even with a three-band difference rule to discriminate between strains. Plasmids in seven of the isolates produced a fragment, but this did not affect discrimination of the study isolates. There is a great need to standardise methodology and produce a standard set of strains to assist in this process.


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