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Virology. 1993 Oct;196(2):506-13.

Interfamilial and intrafamilial genomic diversity and molecular phylogeny of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

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Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


To determine the interstrain genomic diversity and molecular phylogeny of the recently identified variants of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) in Melanesia, we enzymatically amplified, then directly sequenced representative regions of the gag, pol, and env genes of HTLV-I strains from 10 members of four families, including one family from Papua New Guinea and three families from the Solomon Islands. When aligned and compared to a Japanese strain of HTLV-I (ATK), the Melanesian HTLV-I strains differed by 7.6 to 8.7% in the gag, 7.1 to 9.3% in the pol, and 7.3 to 8.2% in the env gene regions. Based on 931 nucleotides, the overall sequence divergence of the 10 Melanesian HTLV-I strains from HTLV-I ATK was 7.3 to 8.1% (68 to 75 base substitutions). The intrafamilial genetic heterogeneity among these virus strains was nil to 0.2%, while the interfamilial sequence variation between HTLV-I strains from the Solomon Islands and those from Papua New Guinea was 3.4 to 4.2%, and the genetic heterogeneity among virus strains from the three Solomon Islands families was 0.2 to 0.9%. Using the maximum parsimony and neighbor-joining methods, phylogenetic analysis indicated that the HTLV-I strains from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands formed a monophyletic group and that the Melanesian and cosmopolitan strains of HTLV-I have evolved along two major geographically dependent lineages.

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