The aim of this study was to describe the generation of a PCV2 (porcine circovirus type 2) infectious clone (pIC-PCV2) and its infectivity under in vitro and in vivo conditions. The constructed pIC-PCV2 contained the whole PCV2 genome from a German isolate together with a partial duplication of 467 bp. PK-15 cells were transfected with pIC-PCV2 and an indirect immune fluorescence assay (IFA) was performed 7 days post-transfection. The PCV2 Cap gene was expressed in approximately 20% of the cultured cells, and only the recombination product, and not pIC-PCV2, was subsequently detected by PCR and Southern blot. This result indicated that infection by pIC-PCV2 delivered genomic PCV2 DNA specifically into susceptible cells and led to the expression of a functional virus genome. Eighteen 30- to 40-day-old conventional pigs were distributed into three groups. Group 1 pigs (n=6) were inoculated intranasally (i.n.) with a Spanish isolate of PCV2 propagated in cell culture; pigs from group 2 (n=6) were inoculated with pIC-PCV2 intramuscularly (i.m.), and the last group of pigs (n=6) was inoculated with pIC-PCV2 intraperitoneally (i.p.). All pigs remained clinically healthy during the whole experimental period (35 days). Pigs that received pIC-PCV2 i.p. and i.m., as well as those PCV2 i.n. inoculated, became infected based on an in situ hybridization (ISH), PCR, TaqMan PCR and serological results. The results of this study confirm that cloned PCV2 genomic DNA is infectious both in vitro and in vivo, and is able to cause PMWS-like lesions in i.p. and i.m. experimentally inoculated pigs. © 2004 SGM.