Human adenovirus 4 (HAdV-4), the only serotype of the species HAdV-E to be isolated from man, was first identified by its association with outbreaks of acute respiratory disease in military recruits. To combat such outbreaks, a live, oral HAdV-4 vaccine that is delivered via an enteric-coated capsule was developed. This vaccine has been used for nearly 40 years and has been shown to be safe and efficacious. In this study, the complete DNA sequence (35 994 bp) of the vaccine strain is described and its genetic content is analysed. Phylogenetic comparisons confirmed that the closest sequenced relative of HAdV-4 is another serotype of HAdV-E that infects chimpanzees (SAdV-25) and that the great majority of genes in HAdV-E are related most closely to HAdV-B genes. By using the sequence data, a system was constructed to facilitate production of replication-competent HAdV-4 recombinants.