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To investigate genetic diversity among Staphylococcus aureus and to delineate the geographical distribution of the strains found.RAPD-PCR and ribotyping-PCR were employed for the characterization of Staph. aureus isolates from bovine and nosocomial origin. Among the strains, five to nine groups were distinguished by RAPD-PCR, depending on which primer was used, while ribotyping-PCR distinguished seven ribotypes.These results demonstrate the genetic heterogeneity of the strains studied, and the large dissemination of some clones throughout different regions and hosts, findings that may allow the monitoring of Staph. aureus infections.