Recently, a complex (X/C) hepatitis B virus (HBV) recombinant, first reported in 2000, was proposed as a new genotype; although this was refuted immediately because the strains differ by less than 8 % in nucleotide distance from genotype C. Over 13.5 % (38/281) of HBV isolates from the Long An cohort in China were not assigned to a specific genotype, using current genotyping tools to analyse surface ORF sequences, and these have about 98 % similarity to the X/C recombinants. To determine whether this close identity extends to the full-length sequences and to investigate the evolutionary history of the Long An X/C recombinants, 17 complete genome sequences were determined. They are highly similar (96–99 %) to the Vietnamese strains and, although some reach or exceed 8 % nucleotide sequence difference from all known genotypes, they cluster together in the same clade, separating in a phylogenetic tree from the genotype C branch. Analysis of recombination reveals that all but one of the Long An isolates resembles the Vietnamese isolates in that they result from apparent recombination between genotype C and a parent of unknown genotype (X), which shows similarity in part to genotype G. The exception, isolate QL523, has a greater proportion of genotype C parent. Phylogeographic analysis reveals that these recombinants probably arose in southern China and spread later to Vietnam and Laos.


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vol. , part 2, pp. 402 - 411

Pairwise analysis of genetic distance – full genome (substitution/site)

Sequencing primers [Single PDF file](58 KB)


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