The current invention provides a nucleic acid sequence comprising the genome of infectious hepatitis C viruses (HCV) of genotype 2a. The encoded polyprotein differs from those of the infectious clones of genotypes 1a and 1b (U.S. Patent 6,153,421) by approximately thirty (30) percent. It covers the use of this sequence and polypeptides encoded by all or part of the sequence, in the development of vaccines and diagnostic assays for HCV and the development of screening assays for the identification of antiviral agents for HCV. Additional information can be found in Yanagi et al. (1999), Virology 262, 250-263.