Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) is considered the "gold standard" for molecular epidemiological study. Repetitive extragenic palindromic PCR (rep-PCR) is less time-consuming and more suitable for analyzing large numbers of bacterial strains in human populations. PFGE and rep-PCR provide comparable genotyping results for investigating Streptococcus mutans diversity and transmission. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.