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Arch Virol. 1997;142(6):1125-37.

Genomic heterogeneity of small ruminant lentiviruses: existence of heterogeneous populations in sheep and of the same lentiviral genotypes in sheep and goats.

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Laboratoire d'Immunologie et de Biologie Pulmonaire, Hôpital Louis Pradel, Lyon, France.


We have recently shown that French small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLV) from sheep are more similar to Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Virus (CAEV) than to visna maedi virus (VMV) in a conserved region of the pol gene. To extend these results, we have examined sequences from a variable region of the env gene in French SRLV. We found that they were nearly equally distant from both CAEV and VMV strains, suggesting a considerable divergence since the initial introduction of the virus. Analysis of separate clones from individual animals showed that some carry a population of variant viruses. The study of further pol gene sequences from both goats and sheep suggests that viral variants show little or no host species specificity. A phylogenetic tree of pol gene sequences confirmed the presence of a novel genotype of SRLV in France.

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