Phylogenetic analysis of small ruminant lentivirus (SRLV) in Italian flocks reveals the existence of novel genetic subtypes

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In order to investigate the genetic heterogeneity of small ruminant lentivirus (SRLV) isolates in Italy, 55 clinical samples collected between 1998 and 2010 were analysed. The phylogenetic study was based on analysis of gag-pol sequences. Our findings revealed that the SRLVs belonged to the subtype A9 (n = 3, sheep), B1 (n = 5, goat), B2 (n = 3, sheep) and E2 (n = 5, goat). Interestingly, 39 isolates from both sheep and goat, significantly differed from all the other SRLVs previously described and formed two separate clusters within genotypes A and B tentatively named A11 (n = 27, goat and sheep) and B3 (n = 12, goat and sheep), which have never been shown before. These results revealed a marked diversity among Italian field SRLV strains which might reflect the absence of any systematic control measures.

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