BACKGROUND: The resurgence of tuberculosis and the widespread emergence of multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis have emphasized the importance of rapid and accurate diagnostic procedures. Recently, the oligonucleotide chip has proven to be a useful tool in the rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases. The purpose of this study was to rapidly and accurately detect specific mutations in the rpoB, katG and rpsL genes associated with rifampin, isoniazid and streptomycin resistance in M. tuberculosis, respectively, using a single oligonucleotide chip. METHOD: For detection of drug-resistance, 7 wild-type and 13 mutant-type probes for rifampin, 2 wild-type and 3 mutant-type probes for isoniazid, and 2 wild-type and 2 mutant-type probes for streptomycin were designed and spotted onto glass slides. Fifty-five cultured samples of M. tuberculosis were amplified by PCR, and then underwent hybridization and scanning. Direct sequencing was done to verify the results from the oligonucleotide chip and to analyze the types of mutations. RESULT: Thirty-five cases out of 40 rifampin-resistant strains(~88%) had mutations in the rpoB gene. One case had a new mutation(D516F, GAC R TTC) and another known mutation together. Twenty cases out of 42 isoniazid-resistant strains(~50%) had mutations in the katG gene, while 7 cases out of 9 streptomycin-resistant strains(~78%) had mutations in the rpsL gene. From these results, the oligonucleotide chip was confirmed to be able to detect the most frequent mutations from the genes associated with rifampin, isoniazid and streptomycin resistance. The results proved that the drug-resistance detection probes were specific. When the results from the oligonucleotide chip and DNA sequencing were compared, the types of mutations were exactly matched. CONCLUSION: The diagnostic oligonucleotide chip with mutation specific probes for drug resistance is a very reliable and useful tool for the rapid and accurate diagnosis of drug resistance against rifampin, isoniazid and streptomycin in M. tuberculosis infections.