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The polymerase chain reaction (PCR), used to detect human papillomavirus (HPV), is finding increasing applications in clinical laboratories. The standard method of analysis to detect amplified PCR products is ethidium bromide gel electrophoresis combined with laborintensive blot hybridization. In this study, we describe single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) to detect and genotype simultaneously general primer GP5 + / GP6+ amplified HPV DNA using semiautomated electrophoresis on polyacrylamide gels (PAGE) combined with sensitive silver staining. To establish a standard for the band patterns of the various HPV types, we used HPV plasmid DNA, which allowed us to distinguish HPV 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 45, 51, 52, 56, and 58, covering the most frequently recognized types. All the types tested are separated from each other, demonstrating diverse band patterns, HPV 16 being the most distinct. We also investigated PCR-SSCP for HPV detection and typing of 86 cervical biopsies diagnosed as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) I-III and known to be HPV positive by PCR-slot blot hybridization and in situ hybridization. The correlation with SSCP was 91% for in situ hybridization and 98% for PCR-slot blot hybridization. SSCP is reproducible and specific. Its sensitivity is comparable to slotblot hybridization. The interval to SSCP is approximately 2 h after PCR compared with several days' work when using conventional blot hybridization. We concluded that SSCP may be more advantageous than other PCR-based typing technologies.