Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) may be grouped according to the site from which they are isolated and the disease with which they are associated. We recently identified and cloned HPV type 51 (HPV-51) from a low-grade precancerous lesion (G. Nuovo, E. DeVilliers, R. Levine, S. Silverstein, and C. Crum. J. Virol. 62:1452-1455, 1988). Molecular epidemiologic analysis of cervical lesions, including condylomata and low- and high-grade precancers, revealed that HPV-51 was present in about 5% of the samples we examined. We have now determined the complete nucleotide sequence of this virus and compared it with other sequenced HPVs. Our analysis reveals that the 7,808-bp genome is composed of eight open reading frames which are encoded on the same strand and that this virus is most closely related to HPV-31. Sequence comparisons place this virus in the group of high-risk viruses (those with an increased risk of progressing to malignancy) along with HPV-16, -18, -31, and -33. Morphologic transformation experiments demonstrated that HPV-51 had transformation potential and that transformed cells contained RNAs homologous to E6 and E7.