Comprehensive comparisons of genome organizations for poxviruses of different genera have not previously been reported. Here we have made such a comparison by cross-hybridizing genome fragments from capripoxvirus KS-1 and vaccinia virus WR (VV). This showed that a 100- to 115-kilobase (kb) centrally placed section is essentially colinear in organization in the two viruses and that a small region has translocated between the ends of one or other of the genomes during their divergence. No cross-hybridization could be detected between VV DNA and the respective left- and right-hand terminal 8 and 25 kb of capripoxvirus DNA or between capripoxvirus DNA and the respective left- and right-hand terminal 38 and 35 kb of VV DNA. By using the cross-hybridization data, a 4-kb fragment of KS-1 DNA was identified, which corresponds to the regions of the cowpox virus and VV genomes containing genes for the orthopoxvirus A-type inclusion body protein ("ATI"). The sequence of the KS-1 DNA fragment contains homologs of genes which are on either side of the orthopoxvirus ATI genes but contains no homolog of the ATI gene itself. Overall, these results show that the pattern of genomic conservation and variation between two poxvirus genera reflects the pattern within the orthopoxvirus genus but that, as observed previously, individual genes may not be present in genomic regions which are otherwise conserved in organization
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