Abstract This paper describes the results of two experiments regarding porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV1): the first one studied the existence of bottlenecks in an experimental one-to-one model of transmission in pigs; while the second analysed the differences between viral quasi-species in vaccinated pigs that developed shorter or longer viraemias after natural challenge. Serum samples, as well as the initial inoculum, were deep-sequenced and a viral quasi-species was constructed per sample. For the first experiment, the results consistently reported a reduction in the quasi-species diversity after a transmission event, pointing to the existence of bottlenecks during PRRSV1 transmission. However, despite the identified preferred and un-preferred transmitted variants not being randomly distributed along the virus genome, it was not possible to identify any variant producing a structural change in any viral protein. In contrast, the mutations identified in GP2, nsp9 and M of the second experiment pointed to changes in the amino acid charges and the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase structure. The fact that the affected proteins are known targets of the immunity against PRRSV, plus the differential level of neutralizing antibodies present in pigs developing short or long viraemias, suggests that the immune response selected those changes.