Polymerase chain reaction for the detection and differentiation of Marek’s disease virus strains MDV-1 and HVT

Document Type : Full paper (Original article)


1 National Institute for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Tehran, Iran

2 Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, Karadj, Iran

3 Veterinary Medicine Research Center, Agriculture Organization, Markazi Province, Arak, Iran


Marek’s disease (MD) is a lymphoproliferative disease of chickens characterized by lymphocytic
infiltration of various organs. The present study was an attempt to use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to
optimize a rapid and reliable assay for detection of MDV genome. Detection of serotype 1 of MDV (MDV-1)
was confirmed by presence of a 200 bp DNA fragment as a PCR product. Differentiation of MDV-1 and
herpesvirus of turkeys (HVT) was also conducted using specific primers from the glycoprotein A (gA) gene
and a 388 bp DNA fragment was amplified from HVT genome. The specificity of the test was confirmed by
sequencing of PCR products. Results indicate that MDV-1 can be diagnosed in clinical samples and inoculated cell cultures which is used for virus isolation. In addition, differentiation between MDV-1 and HVT viruses was confirmed based on the size of PCR products. The test proved to be rapid and reliable and can be performed as a robust diagnostic test in veterinary diagnostic laboratories.