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Typing of an important pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, permits epidemiological investigations within a community and within an individual hospital. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) is the current gold standard method for typing this bacterial species in short-term epidemiological studies. However, PFGE requires specialized equipment and is rather slow. This article demonstrates the potential of a new typing method (double digest selective label DDSL) as a fast, highly discriminatory alternative to PFGE for the typing of Staphylococcus aureus isolates. In this new typing method, large DNA fragments are produced with a restriction enzyme commonly used for PFGE but are trimmed by a second enzyme to a size which can be separated on a conventional agarose gel within a short period of time. Selective labelling of a subset of the numerous restriction fragments gives a distinct banding pattern for each isolate. The advantages of DDSL typing are its speed of analysis (one day) and the potential for greater discrimination between isolates than can be achieved with PFGE typing. An online service allows simulating the technique and a suggestion tool is developed for easy selection of endonucleases for this genotyping method.
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