A collection of Streptococcus suis strains from animal and human infections was examined for DNA-banding patterns after restriction endonuclease digestion and agarose gel electrophoresis. The endonuclease HaeIII produced the most discriminating restriction profiles among 23 serotypes studied. DNA from serotypes 9, 11, 12, and 16 was resistant to HaeIII cleavage. DNA from serotypes 9 through 16 was cleaved with HindIII and showed substantial genomic differences. We also examined 106 epidemiologically unrelated strains isolated from cases of pig meningitis or pneumonia and 5 strains isolated from cases of human meningitis in order to compare genomic fingerprinting and serotyping as epidemiological tools. Heterogeneity was found among fingerprints of serologically identical isolates, indicating genetic diversity within some serotypes. DNA fingerprints of some serotype 2 strains from different sources appeared identical, suggesting a clonal relationship among strains of this serotype. The data suggest that this technique represents an important tool for examining the natural history of diseases caused by S. suis.