The use of ionizing radiation has given much information on the size and structure of virus particles (Ginoza, 1963; Contreras & Ohlbaum, 1968). The relation between virus particle size and sensitivity to inactivation by ionizing radiation was postulated by Lea (1940); later, the target theory was developed (Lea, 1946; Timofeeff-Ressovsky & Zimmer, 1947). The amount of genetic material in a virus can be determined by calculating the target molecular weight (Ginoza, 1967). Even though it is generally accepted that the RNA of picornaviruses has a molecular weight of about 2 × 10 (Allison & Burke, 1962), there is very little information about the molecular weight of the genome of many of them. The present study was undertaken to determine the size of the genome of foot-and-mouth disease virus by means of γ-irradiation. For the purpose of comparison, we irradiated simultaneously another enterovirus, poliovirus, under identical experimental conditions.


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