Widespread intra-serotype recombination in natural populations of dengue virus

Worobey M, Rambaut A & Holmes EC

(1999) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96, 7352-7357.

Diversity analysis of 71 published dengue virus gene sequences revealed several strains that appeared to be mosaics comprising gene regions with conflicting evolutionary histories. Subsequent maximum likelihood breakpoint estimation identified seven recombinants, including members of three of the four dengue virus serotypes. with breakpoints in the premembrane/membrane gene, the envelope gene, and at the junction of the envelope and first nonstructural genes. Many of the individual recombinants contain sequence representing separate genetic subtypes. The results were highly statistically significant and were confirmed by phylogenetic analysis of the regions of interest. These findings indicate that recombination may play a very significant role in shaping genetic diversity in dengue virus and, as such, have important implications for its biology and its control.

Andrew Rambaut, 2007