The sequence of herpes simplex virus (HSV) is present as a direct repeat at the genomic termini and also in inverted orientation at the joint between the L and S segments. DNA sequences have been determined for the joint regions of the genomes of HSV-1 and HSV-2, and relative to these sequences the genomic termini are in both cases located close to a short direct repeat of 17 to 21 base pairs (bp) at the and junctions. The HSV-1 joint region contains three separate tandem direct reiterations of short sequences, (12, 16 and 17 bp in strain 17) and we conclude that size heterogeneity in the and sequences is due to variable copy numbers of these repeated units. It is likely that a considerable part of the HSV-1 joint region does not code for polypeptide.


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