The sequence variation in a 934 base-pair region of the gene encoding the haemagglutinin-neuraminidase of five human parainfluenza virus type 3 (HPIV3) isolates was determined together with that of a prototype UK strain. All of the clinical isolates were from the Manchester area of the UK and were obtained in 1990. 1991 and 1993. The gene segment was amplified by the polymerase chain reaction using HPIVB-specific oligonucleotide primers. The nucleotide homology of the strains was high, around 99% and specific differences in the UK sequences when compared with that of the US prototype strain were identified. In addition, a number of isolate-specific differences were seen. No correlation was detected between the observed nucleotide mutations and the year of isolation, which supports the hypothesis that HPIV3 shows cocirculation of a heterogeneous population of viruses rather than varying with time in a linear fashion. However, the data suggested that geographically-defined genetic lineages of HPIV3 may exist
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