Development of rotavirus molecular epidemiology: electropherotyping

  • I. H. Holmes
Conference paper
Part of the Archives of Virology book series (ARCHIVES SUPPL, volume 12)


Early in the era of rotavirology it was realized that the characteristic patterns of bands produced in polyacrylamide gels following electrophoresis of genomic dsRNA were useful for checking the identity of rotavirus isolates. However it was Romilio Espejo who first proposed the use of this technique for epidemiology, although most others did not take the suggestion seriously because the technique was then rather specialized and RNA staining methods were not very sensitive. Using samples collected by Ruth Bishop in Melbourne following the original identification of human rotaviruses, Sue Rodger recorded the “electropherotypes” of all samples available to 1979 and painstakingly compared them, side by side (since minor variations in conditions, especially temperature, alter the relative migration distances of dsRNA bands). These efforts produced the first longitudinal, extensive study of human rotavirus strain variation. Since then, technical improvements have greatly increased the sensitivity of the procedures, and electropherotyping has been recognized as a powerful and economical method for epidemiological studies of rotaviruses.


Molecular Epidemiology dsRNA Band Relative Migration Distance Rotaviral dsRNA Acute Infantile Gastroenteritis 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. H. Holmes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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