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Mol Biol Evol. 1997 Aug;14(8):800-6.

The origin and evolution of Ebola and Marburg viruses.

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Center for Information Biology, National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan.


Molecular evolutionary analyses for Ebola and Marburg viruses were conducted with the aim of elucidating evolutionary features of these viruses. In particular, the rate of nonsynonymous substitutions for the glycoprotein gene of Ebola virus was estimated to be, on the average, 3.6 x 10(-5) per site per year. Marburg virus was also suggested to be evolving at a similar rate. Those rates were a hundred times slower than those of retroviruses and human influenza A virus, but were of the same order of magnitude as that of the hepatitis B virus. When these rates were applied to the degree of sequence divergence, the divergence time between Ebola and Marburg viruses was estimated to be more than several thousand years ago. Moreover, most of the nucleotide substitutions were transitions and synonymous for Marburg virus. This suggests that purifying selection has operated on Marburg virus during evolution.

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