In 1984, the B95-8 isolate of EpsteinBarr virus (EBV), a commonly usedlaboratory strain whose DNA genome had been partially or completely clonedby several groups, was the first herpesvirus to have its genome completelysequenced (Baer et al. 1984). The information gained from this first genomicsequence (accession number V01555) provided a wealth of new information onthe coding potential of this DNA tumor virus, and consequently was the basisfor the rapid advancement of the EBV field that soon followed. The completesequence data were particularly critical, for example, to the characterization ofthe complex latency-associated genes of EBV, whose highly spliced mRNAsspan upward of 85 kilobase pairs (kbp) of the genome. Sequence informationmissing from the B95-8 genome-the result of a 12-kbp deletion-was subsequentlyprovided by analysis of the corresponding genomic region of the RajiEBV isolate (Parker et al. 1990). An updated and fully annotated wild-typeEBV genome sequence, reconstituted from the Raji and B95-8 sequences, is nowavailable (accession number AJ507799) (de Jesus et al. 2003). Moreover, thecomplete sequence of two additional EBV genomes has recently been reported,one of which is that of the prototype type 2 strain of EBV, AG876 (Dolan et al.2006; Zeng et al. 2005). Though it has been 25 years since publication of theB95-8 EBV sequence, this information is still invaluable today as it continues toprovide insight into the biology and evolution of EBV as a highly successfulhuman pathogen.
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