DNA fingerprinting with the complex probe Ca3 has revealed the following five Candida albicans clades: group I, group II, group III, group SA and group E. These groups exhibit geographical specificity. Group SA is relatively specific (i.e., highly enriched) to South Africa, group E is relatively specific to Europe, and group II is absent in the Southwest USA and South America. The maintenance of deep-rooted clades side by side in the same geographical locale and the apparent absence of subclade structure suggest little recombination between clades, but higher rates of recombination within clades. Exclusive 5-fluorocytosine resistance in the majority of group I isolates reinforces the above conclusions on recombination, and demonstrates that clades differ phenotypically. The ramifications of these findings with regard to pathogenesis are discussed. In particular, these findings lay to rest the idea that one strain represents all strains of C. albicans, support the need for a worldwide analysis of population structure and clade-specific phenotypic characteristics, and demonstrate that in the future, pathogenic characteristics must be analyzed in representatives from all five clades.