The role of Escherichia coli as a pathogen has been the focus of considerable study, while much less is known about it as a commensal and how it adapts to and colonizes different environmental niches within the mammalian gut. In this study, we characterize Escherichia coli organisms (n=146) isolated from different regions of the intestinal tracts of eight pigs (dueodenum, ileum, colon, and feces). The isolates were typed using the method of random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and screened for the presence of bacteriocin genes and plasmid replicon types. Molecular analysis of variance using the RAPD data showed that E. coli isolates are nonrandomly distributed among different gut regions, and that gut region accounted for 25% (PE. coli but also that strains from different regions have different characteristics.