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J Gen Virol. 2003 Dec;84(Pt 12):3191-201.

Genetic variability of hepatitis A virus.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, McIntyre Medical Building, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1Y6.


Knowledge of the molecular biology of hepatitis A virus (HAV) has increased exponentially since its identification. HAV exploits all known mechanisms of genetic variation to ensure survival, including mutation and genetic recombination. HAV has been characterized by the emergence of different genotypes, three human antigenic variants and only one major serotype. This paper reviews the genetic variability and molecular epidemiology of HAV. Its evolutionary mechanisms are described with particular emphasis on genetic recombination and HAV mutation rate. Genotypic classification methods are also discussed.

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