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Summary

Dermatophytes are keratinophilic fungi capable of causing dermatophytosis (commonly known as tinea or ringworm) in humans and animals. Previously, we reported the differentiation of the common dermatophytes Trichophyton rubrum, T. mentagrophytes and T. tonsurans using a random primer 5′-ACCCGACCTG-3′(OPAA11) in the arbitrarily primed polymerase chain reaction (APPCR). In the present study, by examining additional dermatophytes including eight Microsporum spp., 16 Trichophyton species/subspecies and Epidermophyton floccosum using both OPAA11 and a second random decamer 5′-GAGAGCCAAC-3′(OPD18) in AP-PCR, we show that except for T. rubrum and T. gourvilli, and three T. mentagrophytes varieties, most of the dermatophyte fungi investigated formed distinct DNA band patterns on gel electrophoresis. The amplification of specific DNA bands in APPCR appeared to be independent of culture variations shown by dermatophyte isolates. These results provide the basis for the rapid identification of dermatophytes at the genetic level, supplementing existing laboratory methods and improving the diagnosis of human dermatophytosis.