Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) DNA component 1 from isolates from 10 different countries was cloned and sequenced and the sequences were aligned and compared. This analysis indicated two groups: the South Pacific group (isolates from Australia, Burundi, Egypt, Fiji, India, Tonga and Western Samoa) and the Asian group (isolates from the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam). The mean sequence difference within each group was 1.9 to 3.0% and between isolates from the two groups was approximately 10%, but some parts of the sequences differed more than others. However, the protein encoded by the major open reading frame, which is probably a replicase, differed by approximately 5%. The region from the beginning of the stem-loop sequence to the potential TATA box was identical in all isolates except for a two nucleotide change in the Western Samoan isolate and a single change in that of the NSW isolate. These results, together with other evidence, suggest that BBTV has spread to bananas after the initial movement of bananas from the Asian Pacific regions to Africa and the Americas.


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