Summary: One-hundred-and-four isolates of yeast were collected from the vaginas of 97 outpatients. The isolates were identified by their characteristics in a carbohydrate assimilation test, a serological test and from their morphology. and were the major isolates (75% and 20%, respectively). The karyotypes of the isolates were analysed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and almost all the karyotypes were distinguishable from one another when the band mobilities were carefully compared. Characteristics and karyotypes were not directly correlated, but seven isolates (from six patients) had a common atypical karyotype and shared the same phenotype. These isolates are inferred to be generated by a wide genomic reorganization and mutation and the phenotypic changes may be advantageous for survival. The karyotypes of the isolates recovered from individual patients after intervals of 1–6 months were all identical except for one or two highly variable bands which were identified with an rDNA probe. This suggests that the variable bands are too variable to be useful for distinguishing strains, but from the patterns of the identical bands (i.e. except for the variable bands) we concluded that strains from individual patients do not change, at least over short periods. This, coupled with the extensive inter-isolate variability in karyotype, will be useful for source determination and epidemiological studies.


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