Volume 57, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



To facilitate identification of ehrlichial pathogens, we developed a new technique based on fingerprints resulting from repetitive element polymerase chain reaction (rep-PCR). This technique uses consensus tRNA primers to generate amplification products that reflect distance polymorphisms between adjacent tRNA genes. Species-specific fingerprint patterns were obtained for seven spp., as well as the unnamed causative agent of human granulocytotropic ehrlichiosis. Bands ranged in size from approximately 50 to 1,000 base pairs. Banding patterns varied depending on dilution of template DNA, with lower dilutions giving more complex banding patterns. These preliminary data indicate that repetitive-sequence—based PCR appears to be a useful technique for identifying ehrlichial organisms to the species, and perhaps the strain level. Compared with other conventional molecular-biologic methods, rep-PCR offers the advantages of ease of performance and rapid availability of results.


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