Species- or subspecies-specific DNA (including COMPLEMENTARY DNA; conserved genes, whole chromosomes, or whole genomes) used in hybridization studies in order to identify microorganisms, to measure DNA-DNA homologies, to group subspecies, etc. The DNA probe hybridizes with a specific mRNA, if present. Conventional techniques used for testing for the hybridization product include dot blot assays, Southern blot assays, and DNA:rna hybrid-specific antibody tests. Conventional labels for the DNA probe include the radioisotope labels 32P and 125I and the chemical label biotin. The use of dna probes provides a specific, sensitive, rapid, and inexpensive replacement for cell culture techniques for diagnosing infections.