The genetic diversity of 32 Italian isolates of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) was studied. Isolates were obtained from domestic cats living in different areas. Sequence data were obtained from a 308 bp fragment of the p25 region of the gag gene. Phylogenetic relationships among these sequences and previously published sequences were determined. All the Italian isolates could be assigned to subtype B; however, four isolates formed two separate clusters and may represent genetic outliers. The reliability of classification results was confirmed by repeating the phylogenetic analysis with DNA sequences from the entire gag genes of two isolates and from the surface glycoprotein domain of the env gene of four isolates. It is concluded that the short segment of gag used permits reliable genotyping of FIV isolates. The study also shows that subtype B is largely prevalent in Italy.


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