|A random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fingerprinting method has been developed to differentiate Salmonella enteritidis isolates. A total of 65 arbitrary primers were screened with S. enteritidis isolates of different phage types. This allowed selection of a panel of primers capable of detecting DNA polymorphisms among S. enteritidis isolates. This panel was used to examine a panel of 29 isolates of S. enteritidis which had been previously characterized by other subtyping methods, including phage typing (PT) (n = 7), ribotyping (RT) (n = 13), and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Applied collectively, these three methods resolved the collection into 20 different subtypes. However, by the RAPD fingerprinting method alone, 14 RAPD subtypes were revealed. Eight isolates of S. enteritidis phage type 8 that failed to be discriminated by other typing methods (PT, RT, and PFGE) were resolved into three different subtypes by RAPD analysis. In contrast, isolates that were derived from the same sources were not differentiated by any of the subtyping methods employed, including PT, RT, PFGE, and RAPD analysis. This RAPD approach to S. enteritidis subtyping provided more discriminatory power than did any of several other subtyping methods applied individually. Once the challenging step of primer identification was accomplished, determinations of the appropriate concentrations of arbitrary primer, DNA template, and MG2+ ion were also necessary for optimal discriminatory power. The bacterial DNA used in this RAPD protocol was obtained by boiling the bacterial sample. This simple procedure yielded DNA that produced fingerprint patterns as consistent as those obtained from phenol-chloroform-extracted DNA. Clearly, when appropriately constituted primer sets are identified and employed, RAPD analysis provides a simple, rapid, and powerful subtyping method for S. enteritidis.