The level of nucleotide sequence conservation between the RNAs of type A and type O foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) has been compared by three methods. (1) RNA hybridization of fragments containing either the poly(C) tract at the 5′ end of the RNA or the poly(A) tract at the 3′ end of the RNA indicates that there is a similar level of sequence conservation (65% homology) across the genome. RNase T fingerprinting of these fragments did not show the presence of any long regions of completely conserved nucleotides apart from the poly(C) and the poly(A) tracts. (2) RNase T fingerprints of the RNA on the 5′ side of the poly(C) tract (the S fragment) show that there is more conservation in this region of the RNA than indicated by the hybridization results. (3) Direct nucleotide sequencing of the poly(C) tract and of the 54 nucleotides at the 5′ end of the two genomes shows that there is considerable sequence conservation at the extreme 5′ end of the RNA.


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