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Multiple Locus Variable-number Tandem Repeat Analysis (MLVA)

What is MLVA?

The MLVA Workflow

MLVA Workflow: Larger View

MLVA, an abbrevation for multiple locus variable number of tandem repeats analysis, is another technique used by microbiologists to generate a DNA fingerprint or a bacterial isolate. Microbiologists usually perform MLVA after they have performed Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) so they can get more details about the type of bacteria that may be causing an outbreak.


Advantages of MLVA

  • MLVA may be able to differentiate suspected, fast-evolving bacterial strains from an outbreak even though those strains might look the same using other methods of DNA fingerprinting, such as PFGE..
  • PulseNet uses MLVA as a complementary technique to PFGE, allowing microbiologists to see more detailed differences between bacteria that have similar PFGE patterns.

Limitations of MLVA

  • Requires a trained and skilled technician
  • Is not a practical routine subtyping method because a specific protocol must be used  for each pathogen
  • A few standardized protocols are available, but only the most common pathogens are subtyped by this method

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MLVA Protocols