The reassortment of genome segments during mixed infection of Vero cells with bluetongue virus (BTV) serotypes 10 and 17 was investigated, using non-selective conditions for analysis of the progeny of mixed infections. Reassortment was found to be an early event in the BTV replication cycle, indicating that progeny BTV genomes undergo a single round of reassortment. Non-random segregation of individual genome segments was observed in crosses at equal multiplicity of infection, and was confirmed in crosses performed at unequal multiplicity. Asynchronous infections showed that superinfection exclusion resulted in the failure of the superinfecting virus to contribute genome segments to reassortants if the second virus followed the first by more than 4 h. The significance of these results for the evolution and epidemiology of BTV is discussed.

Keyword(s): BTV , exclusion and reassortment

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