To investigate the evolutionary dynamics of rabies virus (RABV) in China, we collected and sequenced 55 isolates sampled from 14 Chinese provinces over the last 40 years and performed a coalescent-based analysis of the G gene. This revealed that the RABV currently circulating in China is composed of three main groups. Bayesian coalescent analysis estimated the date of the most recent common ancestor for the current RABV Chinese strains to be 1412 (with a 95 % confidence interval of 1006–1736). The estimated mean substitution rate for the G gene sequences (3.961×10 substitutions per site per year) was in accordance with previous reports for RABV.


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