A DNA fragment was identified and cloned from Staphylococcus epidermidis (Se) using femA from S. aureus (Sa) as a heterologous hybridization probe. DNA sequence analysis of a portion of this clone revealed two complete ORFs highly related to femA and femB of Sa. The genomic arrangement of the Se femA/B complex was nearly identical to that observed in Sa. Intra- and interspecies relatedness of these genes and conservation of genomic organization were consistent with gene duplication of one of these genes in an ancestral organism. Recombinant FEMA, produced in Escherichia coli (Ec), was purified to near homogeneity. Identity of the purified protein was verified by N-terminal amino acid (aa) sequence analysis.