Objective: In the present study we have compared three commercial software packages, GelCompar, Molecular Analyst Fingerprinting, and BioImage, to determine if the results generated by the programs were comparable and correlated adequately with visual interpretation of electrophoretic gels, in the analysis of several well characterized incidents of infections.
Methods: Infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida dubliniensis, C. albicans, and serotypes of Salmonella were characterized by restriction endonuclease analysis, macrorestriction analysis of genomic DNA with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and random amplified polymorphic DNA. The genotypes were visually detected based on band presence or absence in the different gels. The similarity values of DNA profiles were computed using Dice coefficient and were presented in dendrograms by UPGMA. The concordance or agreement between the number of genotypes obtained and their clustering, using the computerized programs, was determined.
Results: In general, agreement in number of genotypes obtained visually and by using the commercial DNA analysis software was achieved, but discrepancies were also denoted between the systems. The concordance between the visual and the computerized analysis ranged from 72% to 100%.
Conclusion: In our experience, although the programs evaluated in the present study performed acceptably well, such programs may be used as an aid in the analysis of complex banding patterns, and they do not provide an indisputably correct analysis in genotype definition.