The isolation of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) from clinical specimens has become very common in recent years. Such organisms are typically environmental and occasionally pathogenic for humans and animals. Standard diagnosis of mycobacterial infections relies on direct examination and culture. However, molecular tools are now available which allow quicker and more accurate diagnosis. Detection of NTM can be performed directly from clinical samples, although identification is mostly carried out after isolation. Sequencing of genomic targets (such as 16S rRNA, ITS, rpoB or hsp65) allows accurate and rapid identification, but has some technical limitations. A brief summary of the molecular methods available for NTM identification and a discussion of the problems associated with the use of sequencing analysis together with a description of available algorithms for NTM identification are the major objectives of this review.

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