Restriction enzyme site mapping showed that most HI and all I sites were conserved on the genomes of 17 African swine fever virus isolates from separate disease outbreaks that occurred between 1982 and 1989 in Malawi. However, frequent variation between virus genomes did occur due to addition or deletion of DNA sequences at various positions along the genome and 11 virus genotypes could thus be distinguished among the 17 isolates analysed. Length variations occurred at 10 different loci on the virus genome. These variable regions were located between the left DNA terminus and a position up to 48 kb from that terminus, in the centre of the genome 90 to 93 kb from the left DNA terminus and between the right DNA terminus and a position 22 kb from that terminus. Length variations in most of these regions were small (<1 kb) but variations of about 4 kb occurred in a region up to 20 kb from the left DNA terminus.


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