We have determined the nucleotide sequence of the 5'-terminal region of the hepatitis G virus (HGV) genome in 11 hepatitis patients from three cities in China. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the Chinese isolates were genetically distinct from previously described West African isolates (type 1) and American, European and East African isolates (type 2), with a mean sequence divergence of approximately 10%. The mean divergence between isolates from Lanzhou, in the northwest of China, and those from Shanghai and Nanjing, on the east coast of China, was 5% (range 3-7%). The isolates from Shanghai and Nanjing were closely related to a common strain in Japan, while some of those from Lanzhou were closely related to a southeast Asian type 3 isolate. Thus, the Chinese isolates belong to the type 3 variant of HGV.


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