Most influenza viruses are inconsistent and unreliable in their plaque-forming capacities, and this has long been a major handicap in basic research. Only strains of fowl plague virus and the human type A variant (WSN) are consistently good plaque producers and, for this reason, have received an undue amount of attention in influenza virus genetics. In attempts to widen the scope for other strains, the following primary tissues have been investigated, chick embryo fibroblasts (Granoff, 1955; Simpson & Hirst, 1961), calf kidney (Lehmann-Grube, 1963), hamster kidney (Grossberg, 1964), monkey kidney (Choppin, 1962; Vonka, 1965) and chicken kidney (Babiker & Rott, 1968). Although individual workers have reported success with their own particular methods, their techniques have frequently been unreproducible and it has often been necessary to accept low rates of plaquing efficiency and to subject viruses to long processes of tissue adaptation. Continuous cell lines have presented even greater problems since most of them do not yield infectious virus.


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