Discrimination between transmissible gastroenteritisvirus isolates
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Twenty TGEV isolates were compared by sequencing a 393–414 nucleotide stretch near the 5′ end of the S gene, after amplification by RT-PCR. This part of the S gene is known to show considerable variation between porcine, canine and feline coronaviruses and is completely deleted from porcine respiratory coronaviruses. The discrimination achieved by nucleotide sequence analysis was compared with that obtained by monoclonal antibody typing. The viruses could be split into several clusters, and recent isolates of TGEV from England, The Netherlands and Belgium showed the greatest differences compared to earlier reference types. However, not all viruses with unique isolation histories were distinct, suggesting either genetic stability over many years, laboratory cross-contaminations or repeated introductions of similar viruses into the field. Firm conclusions on evolutionary trends cannot be drawn without obtaining a larger number of isolates, preferably from outbreaks with known epidemiological links. The sequences of some field isolates from the 1980s contained both nucleotide deletions and insertions. The latter included a short sequence of fourteen nucleotides with identity to a region of the TGEV polymerase gene.
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