Identification of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus by drug-susceptibility tests alone poses a serious problem, because a considerable number of clinical S. aureus isolates are borderline resistant to methicillin. To circumvent this problem, we have developed a quick and sensitive method of PCR amplification for the detection of mecA gene, which, coding for PBP2', is the specific genetic element of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This method made it possible to identify MRSA strains in a short time using as few as 30 cells as a starting material for template DNA. Using this method, we found that the strains of borderline methicillin-resistance could be accurately identified. We also found one S. aureus clinical strain, T3, which lacked mecA gene in spite of its resistance to methicillin.