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At Least Five Related, but Distinct, Hepatitis C Viral Genotypes Exist

T.-A. Cha, E. Beall, B. Irvine, J. Kolberg, D. Chien and M. S. Urdea
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 89, No. 15 (Aug. 1, 1992), pp. 7144-7148
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2359948
Page Count: 5
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At Least Five Related, but Distinct, Hepatitis C Viral Genotypes Exist
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Abstract

Hepatitis C virus, the major causative agent of blood-borne non-A, non-B hepatitis in the world, has been the subject of considerable nucleic acid sequence analysis. Although all reported hepatitis C sequences from the United States have been represented by the prototype hepatitis C virus type 1 sequence, two groups of variant sequences have been reported in Japan. However, we have noted five distinct, but related, genotypes (I-V) throughout the world, based on detailed sequence determination and analysis of the first 1700 nucleotides and part of the nonstructural region 5 at the C terminus of the open reading frame. The nucleotide sequence for a large number of hepatitis C virus isolates spanning six continents was obtained by direct sequence analysis of PCR products after reverse transcription. Genotype was classified by using several distinct sequence motifs. We observed that most genotypes coexist in several geographic regions, including the United States, Japan, Germany, and Italy. So far, genotype V has been found only in South Africa. Interestingly, each distinct genotype seems to be maintained throughout the genome in the segments studied. These genotype distinctions should be considered when designing specific diagnostic tests, developing potential vaccines, and studying viral transmission.

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