Genetic relationships amongst 115 mainly Australian isolates of Mycobacterium avium were assessed using multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MEE). The isolates were divided into 58 electrophoretic types (ETs), with a mean genetic diversity of 0.29. Isolates from humans were closely related to but distinct from those cultured from birds, whilst some porcine isolates belonged to the same ETs as certain human isolates. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was used to differentiate related isolates, and those from birds and some from other animals, including pigs, were distinguished from the human isolates. The results of MEE and PFGE suggested that certain strains of M. avium may be transmitted between birds and pigs, but there was no clear evidence of transmission to humans. The serovar of the M. avium isolates was not obviously related to their ET assignment or their PFGE type.