Isolates of Rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) were typed at the molecular level through the sequences of the open reading frame (ORF) 4 (coding for the coat protein) and ORF1 (coding for the movement protein), and serologically by means of polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies. The overall patterns of diversity shown by molecular and serological analyses were similar: East-African isolates differed from West-African ones, and the West-African isolates from forest differed from the savannah ones. Each major strain had a different serological profile. However, molecular typing was more discriminating than immunological typing since several sequence variants belonged to the same serotype. In rare instances, there were explainable discrepancies between molecular and serological typing. Two amino acids at positions 115 (alanine vs threonine) and 191 (valine vs threonine) consistently discriminated between the major serotypes. These positions were located in antigenic sites as revealed by Spot-scan method and were recognised by discriminating monoclonal antibodies. One shared epitope, lying within a conserved region, may be responsible for the cross-reactivity between RYMV isolates. A rationale for the correlation between molecular and immunological typing of RYMV and other sobemoviruses is proposed.