Papillomatosis has been documented in several carnivores, and papillomavirus (PV) types have been characterized from lesions in a number of carnivore species: the canine oral PV (COPV), the Felis domesticus PV type 1 (FdPV-1) isolated from a Persian cat, the Procyon lotor PV type 1 (PlPV-1) isolated from a raccoon, the canine PV type 2 (CPV-2) from a dog's foot pad lesion and the canine PV type 3 (CPV-3) associated with a canine epidermodysplasia verruciformis - like disease. A tissue sample was taken from a papillomatous lesion on the oral mucosa of a polar bear (Ursus maritimus). Extracted DNA was used as a template for multiply primed rolling-circle amplification (RCA), and restriction enzyme analysis of the RCA product indicated the presence of papillomaviral DNA. The genome of this PV was cloned and the complete genomic sequence was determined. The Ursus maritimus PV type 1 (UmPV-1) genome counts 7582 basepairs and is smaller than that of other papillomaviruses from carnivore species. UmPV-1 contains the typical noncoding region NCR1, but unlike the carnivore PVs of the Lambda genus, UmPV-1 does not possess a second noncoding region NCR2. Phylogenetic analysis based on a nucleotide sequence alignment of the L1 ORF of UmPV-1 and 51 other PV types indicates that UmPV-1 does not cluster with any of the other carnivore PVs, but branches off near the root of the common branch of the genus Alphapapillomavirus.