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June 2007

Direct Identification of Dermatophyte DNA From Clinical Specimens by a Nested Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay

Arch Dermatol. 2007;143(6):799-816. doi:10.1001/archderm.143.6.799

Fungi have recently emerged as human pathogens capable of causing life-threatening diseases in immunocompromised and other high-risk patients.1 It is therefore advantageous to be able to rapidly and correctly diagnose the fungus.2 Conventional diagnosis is based on phenotypic assignment from fungal cultures. This approach is highly technique dependent, time consuming, and is also largely dependent on the viability and amount of fungal elements in the specimens.3 In this study, we introduce a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay that can be directly applied to clinical specimens. In addition to the dramatic reduction in diagnosis time, from weeks in fungal culture–based phenotypic identification to 24 to 48 hours, our genotype-based approach affords greatly improved identification accuracy and heightened detection sensitivity.4

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