A primer pair which was expected to generate an amplicon of the estimated size (approximately 1700 base pair (bp)) of the flaA gene for Campylobacter jejuni amplified products of approximately 1450 bp for 33 of the 44 isolates of urease-positive thermophilic Campylobacter (UPTC). The primer pair, however, failed to amplify fragments for 11 isolates of UPTC, for all of the 12 isolates of urease-negative C. lari and for one isolate of C. coli. Nevertheless, it successfully amplified fragments of approximately 1700 bp for five isolates of C. jejuni and for nine isolates of C. coli. Thus, the fragments of the flaA gene of UPTC were shorter than those of C. jejuni and C. coli. After PCR amplification and nucleotide sequencing of the flaA genes from five UPTC NCTC isolates, the putative open reading frames (ORFs) were found to range from 1461 to 1479 bp. The amino acid and nucleotide sequence alignments demonstrated that the PCR clones contained the flaA gene; however, our data indicated that this locus was markedly shorter in the UPTC organisms examined, as they were approximately 85 amino acid residues shorter, mainly corresponding to approximate residue numbers 390-470 of the large variable region of C. jejuni 81116. Heterogeneity was indicated in the molecular mass of the flagellin purified from the isolates examined. Flagellin of UPTC was demonstrated to be genotypically and phenotypically smaller than those of C. jejuni.