Recent studies have established the presence of human T-cell lymphoma/leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I) in Melanesia. An HTLV-I strain, PNG-1, has now been isolated from a healthy member of the Hagahai, a remote, recently contacted group in Papua New Guinea. To further characterize PNG-1, we employed polymerase chain reaction amplification with subsequent cloning and sequencing of amplified products. Sequence analyses of amplified regions of pol, env, and pX genes of this variant indicate marked heterogeneity (approximately 7%) from prototype HTLV-I. Based on available sequence data, PNG-1 is distinct from all other known HTLV-I strains and diverges from the common ancestor of HTLV-I prior to prototype isolates. The data also suggest, therefore, that HTLV-I originated in the Indo-Malay region rather than Africa.