Nine Spanish isolates of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) were characterized and classified after reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction of a 248-bp fragment of the VP2 gene hypervariable region and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). The restriction endonucleases (REs) used were BstNI, SacI, SspI, TaqI, DraI, and StyI. Sequencing of the amplified product and further comparison of these sequences with published sequence data from other IBDV strains were also performed. Very virulent and classic strains were identified. None of the strains identified had molecular characteristics similar to that of the American variant strains. Four very virulent strains (VG-248, 5939, 6145, and 7333) were digested by the TaqI, SspI, and StyI enzymes. The sequences of these strains were closely related to other European and Japanese very virulent IBDV (vvIBDV) strains. Strains VG-311, VG-262, and VG-208 were digested by the BstNI and SacI REs and were classified as classic strains. Strains VG-276 and VG-313 had unique RFLP patterns. VG-276 exhibited the SspI RE site, which has been reported as a characteristic of vvIBDV strains, whereas the VG-313 strain exhibited a SacI and StyI RE site indicative of the classic IBDV Edgar and 52–70 strains. However, nucleotide sequence analysis of the amplified hypervariable region strain VG-276 revealed a higher identity with the classic strains STC, 52/70, and 9109 IBDV strains, whereas strain VG-313 exhibited a higher identity with the vvIBDV strains.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4