Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis was evaluated for its capacity to distinguish species and strains within species of groups A, C and G streptococci. The 99 strains tested, previously typed by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE), included 41 group A streptococci , 25 group G (GGS), seven , 11 , four , three and eight . The combined data obtained with three single primers distinguished 82 types. RAPD analysis provided taxonomic results that were in general agreement with previous species classification based on DNA-DNA homology and MLEE. The intraspecies typing efficiency of the technique was significantly improved by the parallel use of several primers. RAPD analysis had greater discriminatory power than MLEE for GAS and GGS. There was not total agreement between the two techniques as RAPD distinguished strains with identical electrophoretic types, whereas MLEE differentiated strains with identical PCR types. RAPD analysis did not distinguish all GAS strains with different biotypes and its already high discriminatory power was further enhanced by concomitant biotyping.


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