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Virology. 2002 Sep 15;301(1):148-56.

Extinction and rapid emergence of strains of dengue 3 virus during an interepidemic period.

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School of Life Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.


Strains of dengue 3 (DEN-3) virus circulating in Thailand prior to 1992 appear to have disappeared from that location and to have been replaced by two new lineages which have evolved locally, rather than being introduced. Similar DEN-3 virus extinctions may have occurred previously in Thailand in 1962 and 1973. Although no causal relationship could be shown, this strain replacement event was accompanied by DEN-3 replacing DEN-2 as the serotype recovered most frequently from patients in Thailand. Although this implies a change in selection pressure, we found no evidence for positive natural selection at the level of either the E protein or the E protein gene. Further, the extinction of the pre-1992 strains and the appearance of the new lineages occurred during an interepidemic period, suggesting that a genetic bottleneck, rather than selection, might have been important in the emergence of these two new strains of virus. The pre-1992 DEN-3 virus lineage could still be found in 1998, to the west, in Myanmar. The ratio of nonsynonymous-to-synonymous nucleotide changes within a DEN-3 virus population from a single patient was less than the ratio among the consensus sequences of DEN-3 viruses from different patients, suggesting that many of the nonsynonymous nucleotide changes which occurred naturally in the E protein were deleterious and removed by purifying selection.

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