Sera from French in-patients were tested for the presence of the TT virus (TTV) genome using PCR and degenerate primers located in ORF1. Thirty-six sequences were determined and compared with those deposited in databases, revealing a high degree of genetic variability between TTV isolates (up to 47% for amino acid sequences). Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated the existence of three main groups corresponding to the previously described genotypes 1 and 2 and to a new genotype 3. Isolates could be assigned to distinct genotypes if their genetic distance was > 27%. No comparable genetic criteria were found for the definition of sub-types in the region studied. A 15-31 month follow-up of three haemodialysis patients proved the existence of chronic infection by TTV. In one patient, two strains belonging to different genotypes were detected at the same time. Sequences of both ORF1 and ORF2 remained unchanged for a given strain during the follow-up.


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