The genome of the rat cytomegalovirus (RCMV) English isolate (MuHV-8) differs significantly from the RCMV Maastricht isolate (MuHV-2) and other cytomegaloviruses (CMVs) in its size, base composition and genomic content. Analysis of the RCMV-Berlin isolate, MuHV-8, revealed that the two MuHV-8 isolates are highly similar in genome size and content, indicating that the smaller genome size (202 946 bp) compared to other known CMVs was not the result of an accidental deletion during passage in tissue culture. Surprisingly, the proteins encoded in MuHV-8 shared more overall similarity with their orthologues from mouse CMV (MuHV-1) compared to their orthologues in rat CMV (MuHV-2). Phylogenetic analyses of conserved viral genes showed that the two MuHV-8 isolates are from the same species and represent a unique clade that is distinct from other rodent CMVs.
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