Retroviruses cause a wide variety of diseases in avian and mammalian species. Human acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) leads to collapse of the immune system and death by a wide variety of opportunistic infections; unusual forms of cancer are associated with this syndrome. Retroviruses have been recovered from tissues of AIDS patients and from patients with related conditions. These similar newly-isolated viruses are lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV)1, human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV-III) 2,3 and AIDS-associated retrovirus (ARV-2)4. We have identified a RNA genome of ∼9 kilobases (kb) in virions purified from the culture medium of a human T-cell tumour line infected with ARV-2. A cDNA probe made from viral RNA detected circular DNA molecules and proviral forms in infected cells. We prepared a library of infected cell DNA. Recombinant phage included those with a 9.5-kb proviral DNA and viral DNA permuted with respect to the single EcoRI site. Comparison of three ARV isolates from different AIDS patients revealed polymorphism of restriction endonuclease sites.
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