Amplification and cloning of near full-length HIV-2 genomes.
The genomes of human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2), like those of HIV-1, are not only extremely variable but are also highly recombinogenic. Determination of subtypes based on partial genomes cannot predict the subtype classification of other regions of the genome owing to the frequent occurrence of recombinant genomes among subtypes. To fully understand the genetic variation and evolution of HIV-2s, full-length viral genomes need to be obtained for genetic analysis. Full-length HIV-2 genomes can also be used as infectious clones to study viral biological characteristics and as reference sequences for phylogenetic analysis. More important, all genes in the obtained genomes can be cloned into expression vectors to produce proteins that can be used as antigens for diagnostic reagents or as immunogens for vaccine development. The long-range polymerase chain reaction technique has recently become a more preferred method than the lambda phage cloning method to obtain near-full-length HIV-2 genomes.
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