Electron microscopic examination of molecules of single-stranded RNA requires their visualization as isolated and elongated strands. Inter- or intramolecular hydrogen bonding, which presumably is responsible for aggregation and tangling of single-stranded RNA, can be broken by the use of urea (Granboulan, Huppert & Lacour, 1966). Furthermore, incubation of purified reovirus with urea before spreading has been demonstrated as a gentle procedure for the release of double-stranded RNA (Granboulan & Niveleau, 1967; Vasquez & Kleinschmidt, 1968).

We describe here morphological studies on the RNA of foot-and-mouth disease virus. The method employed was the microdiffusion technique recently developed by Mayor & Jordan (1968) from the protein monolayer method of Kleinschmidt & Zahn (1959). A droplet of the virus suspension was mixed with a droplet of a 4 to 10 -urea solution on an iced sheet of Teflon or dental wax.


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