A total of 250 isolates of oral streptococci were recovered from swabs of oropharyngeal surfaces of 3 members of one family. All isolates were examined by biochemical and serological means, and 106 isolates were identified as Streptococcus mitis biovar 1. These were typed by restriction endonuclease analysis using the enzymes EcoRI and HaeIII and further characterized by their whole-cell polypeptide profile patterns in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. In addition, rabbit antisera raised against 8 reference strains of oral streptococci were used to characterize representative isolates both by their carbohydrate and protein antigens by Ouchterlony and Western blot analyses. Very limited biochemical diversity was observed among the 106 S. mitis biovar 1 isolates. In contrast, 24 different genotypes defined by restriction endonuclease analysis were detected, and each individual carried 6-13 types. Limited sharing of genotypes was observed between the 3 members of the same family and between the pharyngeal and buccal mucosa of single individuals. The antigenic analyses showed remarkable antigenic diversity between the 24 genotypes. The results provide a basis for studying the population dynamics of an oral commensal species and its interaction with the salivary immune system.