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J Hum Virol. 2000 May-Jun;3(3):157-64.

Molecular evolution of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 subtype A in Senegal: 1988-1997.

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Department of Immunology, and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard AIDS Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.



Few studies have been able to track the genetic diversity of HIV-1 viruses in human populations over time. We analyzed the molecular evolution of subtype A over a 10-year period, in a cohort of female sex workers with a known time of infection.


We amplified and sequenced the C2-V3 region of the surface envelope glycoprotein from 73 HIV-1-infected women, infected between 1987-1997.


Fifty-one patients were infected by subtype A viruses. The viruses demonstrated significant diversification (p < 0.001) with mean genetic distance increasing from 8.6% in 1989 to 15.9% in 1997. The slope of the fitted curve suggested a rate of diversification of 0.7% per year. The majority of subtype A viruses clustered with HIV-1 subtype A/G recombinant form (IbNG).


The genetic diversity of HIV-1 subtype A infections doubled over the first 10 years of this high risk population's epidemic, suggesting that implementation of vaccines early in the epidemic may have a higher likelihood of success based on levels of genetic diversity. The A/G recombinant form (IbNG) has taken epidemic proportions in West Africa. This is of particular importance in understanding the epidemiology of HIV-1 subtypes in Africa and to further dissect the potential phenotypic and biological characteristics of these viruses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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