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A polymerase chain reaction assay was developed for detection of budgerigar fledgling disease virus (BFDV). The assay used a single set of primers complementary to sequences located in the putative coding region for the BFDV VP1 gene. The observed amplification product had the expected size of 550 bp and was confirmed to derive from BFDV DNA by its restriction digestion pattern. This assay was specific for BFDV and highly sensitive, being able to detect as few as 20 copies of the virus. By using the polymerase chain reaction, BFDV was detected in adult, nestling, and embryo budgerigar (Melopsitticus undulatus) tissue DNAs and in sera from adult and nestling budgerigars. These results suggest the possibility of persistent infections in adult birds and lend further support to previously described evidence of possible in ovo transmission. BFDV was also detected in chicken embryo fibroblast cell cultures and chicken eggs inoculated with the virus. A 550-bp product with identical restriction enzyme sites was amplified from a suspected polyomavirus isolated from a peach-faced lovebird (Agapornis pesonata) and from tissue DNA from a Hahn's macaw (Ara nobilis) and a sun conure (Aratinga solstitialis) with histological lesions suggestive of polyomavirus infection. These fragments also hybridized with a BFDV-derived probe, proving that they were derived from a polyomavirus very similar, if not identical, to BFDV.