The restriction endonuclease (RE) cleavage patterns of the DNA of herpes simplex virus (HSV) genital isolates from two geographically distinct groups and from one group of facial isolates were examined. Eleven of 21 genital isolates from females, 1 of 27 genital isolates from males and all 17 of the facial isolates were HSV type 1 (HSV-1). The groups of isolates of the same serotype could not be distinguished by significant differences in the frequency of variable restriction endonuclease sites or molecular weight of variable length fragments. Simultaneous consideration of two or more variable sites has disclosed some which are apparently correlated in the HSV-1 isolates, and which could provide a useful marker for phylogenetic relationships. However, most pairs showed no correlation, while certain sites appeared more closely correlated in the genital than in the facial isolates. All 39 HSV-2 isolates could be distinguished from each other on the basis of a combination of variable RE sites and variable length fragments. II RE sites appeared less variable than other RE sites.


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