, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 231-245

Two types of deletions in orthopoxvirus genomes

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The genome nucleotide sequences of two strains of variola major virus and one strain of vaccinia virus were compared. One hundred and sixty-eight short (less than 100 bp in length) and eight long (more than 900 bp in length) deletions, four deletion/insertion regions, and four regions of multiple mutational differences between variola and vaccinia virus DNAs were revealed. Short deletions generally occur at directly repeated sequences of 3–21 bp. Long deletions showed no evidence of repeated sequences at their points of junction. We suggest the presence of a consensus sequence characteristic of these junctions and propose that there is a virus-encoded enzyme that produces this nonhomologous recombination/deletion in the cytoplasm of the infected cell.