A rapid nucleic acid hybridization procedure was developed for examining the genotypic variation of dengue type 2 viruses (DEN 2) having distinct RNase T1 fingerprints and isolated from different geographical areas. Synthetic DNA hybridization probes were constructed complementary in nucleotide sequence to common and unique RNase T1 oligonucleotides of topotype viruses from Puerto Rico/South Pacific, Jamaica, the Seychelles, Thailand/Burma and Africa. Hybridization probes with both type- and topotype-specific reactivities were observed, as were probes specific for two or more of the DEN 2 topotypes. These results confirm geographical movement of topotype virus strains and suggest possible origins. Detection of DEN 2 RNA by hybridization is a rapid and reproducible method that can be modified and applied as a viable alternative to the laborious T1 oligonucleotide fingerprinting.


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