This study reports on the development of a reverse transcriptase- polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for the specific detection of turkey coronavirus (TCoV). Of the several sets of primers tested, 1 set of primers derived from the P gene and 2 sets derived from the N gene of TCoV could amplify the TCoV genome in the infected samples. The RT-PCR was sensitive and specific for TCoV and did not amplify other avian RNA and DNA viruses tested except the infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). To overcome the problem of IBV amplification, a set of separate primers was designed from the spike protein gene of IBV. The RT-PCR under the same conditions as above could effectively differentiate between TCoV and IBV. The closely related bovine coronavirus and transmissible gastroenteritis virus of pigs were differentiated from TCoV using the same RT-PCR with slight modifications. The results of RT-PCR correlated well with the results of the immunofluorescent test for the same samples tested at the Purdue University Animal Disease Laboratory, West Lafayette, Indiana. The nucleotide sequence and projected amino acid sequence comparison of the P gene of different isolates of TCoV from 5 different states in the United States revealed a close association among the different isolates of TCoV.