We have cloned complete viral genomes directly from Hirt supernatant DNAs of simian foamy virus types 6 and 7 (SFV6 and SFV7) -infected cells. These clones were shown to be infectious by transfection into cells and subsequent infection of susceptible cells either by cocultivation or by passage of cell-free supernatants. The presence of virus particles, suggested by a typical cytopathic effect, was confirmed by electron microscopy. These viruses were characterized at different levels of the replication cycle. The proviral genomes revealed a taf deletion comparable to that previously described in the human foamy virus (HFV) bel1 gene. Analysis of viral RNAs revealed similar patterns of transcripts for SFV6- and SFV7-infected cells, with predominant expression of accessory genes. Characteristic major viral polypeptides were identified by radioimmunoprecipitation for both isolates. Sequences homologous to the gene encoding Taf and to a potential internal promoter were identified in the infectious clones and subcloned into expression vectors. Their functional properties were tested by transfection assays, which provided evidence for the presence of a Taf-dependent internal promoter in both SFV6 and SFV7 isolates.