Genotypic identification methods involve characterization of some portion of a bacterium's genome using molecular techniques for DNA or RNA analysis. This usually involves detecting the presence of a gene, or a part thereof, or an RNA product that is specific for a particular organism. In principle, the presence of a specific gene or a particular nucleic acid sequence is interpreted as a definitive identification of the organism. The genotypic approach is highly specific and often very sensitive. With the ever-expanding list of molecular techniques being developed, the genetic approach to organism identification will continue to grow and become more integrated into diagnostic microbiology laboratory protocols (for more information regarding molecular methods, see Chapter 8).
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