A simple and economic method for the detection and identification of human papillomaviruses (HPV) is described. The method has been developed with cloned HPV DNA and DNA from clinical samples. Genomic fragments were obtained from several different HPV types, including the ones most frequently encountered in the genital tract by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification directed by degenerate general primers. The amplification fragments were identified by a form of miniature fingerprinting, with a set of restriction enzymes that gave a unique digestion pattern for each HPV type. Different strategies are proposed, based on PCR and restriction analysis, and this approach to identification was compared with more classic methods such as Southern hybridisation.


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