Dot blot hybridization was used to screen 820 staphylococci for the presence of the gene coding for TSST-1. The DNA of 33 strains among 70 Staph. aureus strains isolated from suspected toxic shock syndrome (TSS) cases hybridized with the probe. These results agreed perfectly with those obtained with a phenotypic method (immunodiffusion). Among 608 Staph. aureus strains isolated over a period of one month from hospitalized patients, 66 (11%) hybridized with the probe; of these strains, 64 (97%) were found to produce TSST-1 in vitro. None of 145 coagulase-negative staphylococcal strains harboured DNA hybridizing with the probe. The data indicate that this genotypic assay is suitable for epidemiological studies.