Atypical oral Candida isolates were recovered from 60 HIV-infected and three HIV-negative individuals. These organisms were germ-tube-positive and produced abundant chlamydospores which were frequently arranged in triplets or in contiguous pairs. They belonged to C. albicans serotype A and had atypical carbohydrate assimilation profiles. Fingerprinting the genomic DNA of a selection of these organisms with the C. albicans-specific probe 27A and five separate oligonucleotides, homologous to eukaryotic microsatellite repeat sequences, demonstrated that they had a very distinct genomic organization compared to C. albicans and C. stellatoidea. This was further established by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and karyotype analysis. Comparison of 500 bp of the V3 variable region of the large ribosomal subunit genes from nine atypical isolates and the corresponding sequences determined from C. albicans, C. stellatoidea, C. tropicalis, C. parapsilosis, C. glabrata, C. kefyr and C. krusei showed that they atypical organisms formed a homogeneous cluster (100% similarity) that was significantly different from the other Candida species analysed, but was most closely related to C. albicans and C. stellatoidea. These genetic data combined with the phenotypic characteristics of these atypical organisms strongly suggest that they constitute a novel species within the genus Candida for which the name Candida dubliniensis is proposed.