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Can J Vet Res. 2000 Jan;64(1):44-52.

PCR detection and characterization of type-2 porcine circovirus.

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Virology Laboratory, Veterinary Services, Manitoba Agriculture, Winnipeg.


A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was developed for detecting porcine circovirus (PCV). The assay readily detected type-2 PCV (PCV-2) and type-1 PCV (PCV-1). The PCR primers were designed based on DNA sequences conserved in all reported PCV genomes. Type 1 PCV and type 2 PCV both produced 438 bp amplification products, which were easily identified and differentiated from one another by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. Porcine circovirus was detected in 55% (931/1693) of randomly tested pigs with various clinical signs and lesions, most of which were difficult to differentiate from those associated with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). The PCR products from all positive clinical samples were identified by RFLP to be only PCV-2; DNA tested by PCR was extracted directly from one or more of lung, mesenteric or mediastinal lymph nodes, and tonsil. Type 2 PCV was also detected in 6% (2/34) of DNA extracted directly from semen of randomly chosen healthy boars. Positive PCR reactions from 554 diseased pigs were characterized by RFLP and categorized into 5 different profiles (A-E), of which 82.8% were PCV-2A (456/554), 3.0% were PCV-2B (17/554), 9.9% were PCV-2C (55/554), 1.1% were PCV-2D (6/554), and 3.2% were PCV-2E (18/554). The complete genomic nucleotide sequences of PCV-2A, B, C, D, and E were determined and found to have at least 95% homology compared with one another and with all other PCV-2 found in the GenBank database. All PCV-2 had less than 76% homology with PCV-1. This PCR assay will hopefully be useful to veterinary diagnostic laboratories for routine testing and surveillance of infection with PCV-2. The RFLP profiling system might be useful for preliminary characterization and identification of PCV isolates and might also benefit studies on the molecular epidemiology of PCV.

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