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Intervirology. 2004;47(6):289-309.

Genetic diversity of hepatitis B virus strains derived worldwide: genotypes, subgenotypes, and HBsAg subtypes.

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Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Solna, Sweden.


Sequences of 234 complete genomes and 631 hepatitis B surface antigen genes were used to assess the worldwide diversity of hepatitis B virus (HBV). Apart from the described two subgenotypes each for A and F, also B, C, and D divided into four subgenotypes each in the analysis of complete genomes supported by significant bootstrap values. The subgenotypes of B and C differed in their geographical distribution, with B1 dominating in Japan, B2 in China and Vietnam, B3 confined to Indonesia, and B4 confined to Vietnam, all strains specifying subtype ayw1. Subgenotype C1 was common in Japan, Korea, and China; C2 in China, South-East Asia, and Bangladesh, and C3 in the Oceania comprising strains specifying adrq-, and C4 specifying ayw3 is encountered in Aborigines from Australia. This pattern of defined geographical distribution was less evident for D1-D4, where the subgenotypes were widely spread in Europe, Africa, and Asia, possibly due to their divergence having occurred a longer time ago than for genotypes B and C, with D4 being the first split and still the dominating subgenotype of D in the Oceania. The genetic diversity of HBV and the geographical distribution of its subgenotypes provide a tool to reconstruct the evolutionary history of HBV and may help to complement genetic data in the understanding of the evolution and past migrations of man.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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