SUMMARY: To evaluate a 16S rRNA gene probe for the identification of staphylococcal species and subspecies, we have augmented previous studies involving 12 staphylococcal species by analysing the remaining 16 species currently classified in the genus III- and RI-restricted DNA of isolates from validly described species of was probed with radiolabelled plasmid pBA2 containing 16S rDNA from . The Dice coefficient was used to assess similarity between the 74 III- and the 81 RI-hybridization patterns obtained from a total of 271 isolates belonging to 31 staphylococcal taxa (28 species, of which three include two subspecies). The use of III yielded a better discrimination of the staphylococci than the use of RI. All of the isolates belonging to the same species or subspecies, except isolates, were recovered as homogeneous clusters using their III hybridization patterns. The phenotypically close taxa were clearly distinguished. Thus, the method presented in this study constitutes a powerful tool for the identification of taxa within the genus .


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