Thirty-three field isolates of avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) were recovered from commercial chicken flocks in Korea between 2003 and 2006 and were characterized phylogenetically by nucleotide sequence analysis of the IBV S1 gene hyper-variable region. Our phylogenetic analysis revealed that recent field isolates of IBV formed at least three distinct phylogenetic types, including K-I, K-II, and K-III. K-I type IBV consisted of indigenous, 13 IBV isolates which evolved from the Kr-EJ/95 strain and then separated into the lineages of type K-Ia and type K-Ib. K-II type IBV isolates (n = 19) were closely related to nephropathogenic IBV variants from China and Japan. The K-III type isolate (Kr/D064/05), first identified by this study, was closely related to enteric IBV variants from the Chinese strains that cause proventriculitis. Sequence comparisons showed amino acid differences of >27.5% between IBV types. The molecular epidemiologic characteristics of IBV field isolates are briefly discussed.
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Vol. 52 • No. 2