The genomes of an Australian and a Canadian isolate of potato leafroll virus have been cloned and sequenced. The sequences of both isolates are similar (about 93%), but the Canadian isolate (PLRV-C) is more closely related (about 98% identity) to a Scottish (PLRV-S) and a Dutch isolate (PLRV-N) than to the Australian isolate (PLRV-A). The 5′-terminal 18 nucleotide residues of PLRV-C, PLRV-A, PLRV-N and beet western yellows virus have 17 residues in common. In contrast, PLRV-S shows no obvious similarity in this region. PLRV-A and PLRV-C genomic sequences have localized regions of marked diversity, in particular a 600 nucleotide residue sequence in the polymerase gene. These data provide a world-wide perspective on the molecular biology of PLRV strains and their comparison with other luteoviruses and related RNA plant viruses suggests that there are two major subgroups in the plant luteoviruses.


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