A sample of 48 penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae (PRSP) strains recovered between January 1989 and May 1991, primarily from infected children in Houston, was characterized by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis and repetitive extragenic palindromic-polymerase chain reaction genomic profiling. A heterogeneous array of 22 clonal genotypes was identified, but 64% of the PRSP strains in the sample were assigned to five clones that are closely similar in overall chromosomal character and express serotype 6 capsule. A close genetic association between these five clones and penicillin-resistant 6B clones recovered in Alaska, Iceland, and Spain was identified by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis. Taken together, the results suggest either that the common resistant 6B clones in Alaska, Iceland, Spain, and Houston have a recent ancestor or that isolates of a certain pneumococcal phylogenetic lineage are more likely to develop penicillin resistance.
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