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J Gen Virol. 2004 Jan;85(Pt 1):31-7.

Evidence of intratypic recombination in natural populations of hepatitis C virus.

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Laboratorio de Virología Molecular, Centro de Investigaciones Nucleares, Facultad de Ciencias, Iguá 4225, 11400 Montevideo, Uruguay.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has high genomic variability and, since its discovery, at least six different types and an increasing number of subtypes have been reported. Genotype 1 is the most prevalent genotype found in South America. In the present study, three different genomic regions (5'UTR, core and NS5B) of four HCV strains isolated from Peruvian patients were sequenced in order to investigate the congruence of HCV genotyping for these three genomic regions. Phylogenetic analysis using 5'UTR-core sequences found strain PE22 to be related to subtype 1b. However, the same analysis using the NS5B region found it to be related to subtype 1a. To test the possibility of genetic recombination, phylogenetic studies were carried out, revealing that a crossover event had taken place in the NS5B protein. We discuss the consequences of this observation on HCV genotype classification, laboratory diagnosis and treatment of HCV infection.

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