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J Virol Methods. 2000 May;86(2):143-53.

Reproducibility of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) protease and reverse transcriptase sequencing of plasma samples from heavily treated HIV-1-infected individuals.

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Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


The reproducibility of population-based human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) protease and reverse transcriptase (RT) sequencing was assessed using replicate aliquots of cryopreserved plasma samples obtained from seven heavily treated HIV-1-infected individuals. The sequence of each sample replicate was compared with the consensus sequence for that sample and 99.4% of 35128 amino acids were found to be concordant with the sample consensus. Partial discordances were present at 0.5% of positions and complete discordances were present at <0.1% of positions. To assess the reproducibility at detecting mutations (defined here as differences from the subtype B consensus sequence), the proportion of sequences having a mutation when at least two sequences from that sample had the same mutation were examined. There was a median of 13 protease and 18 RT mutations per sample for a total of 3126 mutations; 95% of these mutations were detected. However, sequencing of multiple clones from two samples demonstrated that those mutations present in a minority of clones were often not detected by population-based sequencing. These results suggest that HIV-1 protease and RT sequencing of circulating plasma virus is highly reproducible but that the sensitivity at detecting mutations may be low if those mutations are present as minor variants.

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