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Phylogenetic characterisation of feline immunodeficiency virus

A. Samman, E. L. McMonagle, N. Logan, B. J. Willett, R. Biek, M. J. Hosie

LITTLE is known about the degree of subtype diversity for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). This study investigated the diversity of FIV within the UK and Ireland.

Blood samples were collected from 47 FIV seropositive cats presented by owners or rehoming centres. DNA was extracted from peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from the samples. The env gene of FIV was amplified by PCR, and nucleotide sequence analysis was performed on a 651 base pair fragment spanning the V3 to V5 region of the gene.

Most of the samples examined originated from England, Scotland and Wales, with one sample each from Jersey and the Republic of Ireland. Seventy-four per cent of the cats were male. All but one sequence analysed belonged to subtype A, the predominant subtype in western Europe. A single sequence from an adopted feral cat was thought to represent a recombinant virus of subtypes A and C. Subtype C does not appear to exist in the UK or north-west Europe, possibly suggesting a recombination event predating the cat's introduction into the UK. Subtype A strains …

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