Specific identification of Bacillus anthracis and differentiation from closely related Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis strains is still a major diagnostic problem. Commercially available diagnostic kits targeting plasmid-markers cannot differentiate between B. anthracis, non-anthracis Bacillus species harbouring anthrax-specific virulence plasmids, and plasmidless B. anthracis strains. A TaqMan PCR assay was designed targeting sequences of gene locus BA_5345 of the B. anthracis strain Ames. Specificity was determined by using a panel of 328 Bacillus strains; sensitivity was determined by probit analysis. All B. anthracis isolates (n=92) were specifically detected by using the genomic TaqMan PCR assay whereas 236 strains belonging to 19 Bacillus species other than B. anthracis were PCR negative. The detection limit was determined to be 12.7 copies per reaction (95% confidence interval 10.2-17.5 copies). Here we present an extensively evaluated and - to our current knowledge - specific TaqMan PCR assay for the detection of B. anthracis based on a chromosomal marker.