Molecular clones representing the first 2,000 bases from the 3' end of the porcine transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus genome and the first 2,160 bases from the 3' end of the bovine enteric coronavirus genome were used in dot blot hybridization assays to detect viral RNA from cell culture and from fecal specimens. In each case, the cloned DNA represents approximately 10% of the genome. The cloned sequence for each virus encompasses the 3' noncoding region, the nucleocapsid protein gene, and a large portion of the matrix protein gene. 32P-labeled cDNA probes prepared from these clones detected as little as 25 pg of RNA from the parental virus but did not detect RNA from the nonparental virus even when amounts of up to 10 ng per dot were used. This specificity reflects the antigenic diversity between these two coronaviruses. The hybridization assay could also detect coronaviruses antigenically closely related to the parental virus but not coronaviruses belonging to an antigenically unrelated subgroup. Dot blot hybridization for transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus diagnosis was compared with the routine procedures of virus isolation and electron microscopy as a diagnostic test.
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