The major envelope glycoprotein genes (ORF5) of seven Czech isolates of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) were amplified and their nucleotide sequences were determined. ORF5 displayed nucleotide and amino acid identities of 87.5-100% and 87. 6-100%, respectively, among the isolates. In a phylogenetic tree, all European isolates were grouped in a genotype distinct from that of reference American strains (VR-2332, IAF-Klop). Among the European isolates, two different clades were identified. Two Czech isolates (V-501 and V-503) and Italian strain PRRSV 2156 fell into one clade. The remaining European strains comprised the second clade. Surprisingly, two separately clustered strains (V-501 and V-516) were isolated from the same herd. Additionally, the possible effect of in vitro cultivation on the nucleotide sequence was analysed. Nine point mutations in the ORF5 region resulted from 152 in vitro passages of the V-502 isolate in MARC-145 cells.