Extensive homology exists between Marek disease herpesvirus and its vaccine virus, herpesvirus of turkeys

C. P. Gibbs, K. Nazerian, L. F. Velicer, H. J. Kung

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Marek disease is a lymphomatous disease of chickens caused by infection of a herpesvirus, Marek disease virus (MDV). Marek disease is the only neoplastic disease for which a successful vaccine has been developed. The vaccine virus, herpesvirus of turkeys (HVT), is non-oncogenic in chickens. Despite the strong antigenic relationship between these viruses, previous studies showed that the two viral DNAs share little or no homology. Using less stringent hybridization conditions and methods that greatly improve the reassociation kinetics, we have reexamined the sequence homology between MDV and HVT DNA. We report here that HVT and MDV are far more closely related than previously reported. The homology between these two viral DNAs ranges between 70% and 95% of the respective genomes. Under the low stringency conditions used, MDV DNA fails to cross-hybridize with DNA from feline rhinotracheitis virus, an antigenically unrelated herpesvirus with a G-C content identical to that of MDV and HVT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3365-3369
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11 I
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1984
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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