Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 292–297

Bayesian Coalescent Analysis Reveals a High Rate of Molecular Evolution in GB Virus C

Authors

  • Camila M. Romano
    • Laboratory of Molecular Evolution and Bioinformatics, Department of MicrobiologyBiomedical Sciences Institute–ICBII, University of São Paulo
    • Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Department of BiologyThe Pennsylvania State University, Mueller Laboratory
  • Paolo M. de A. Zanotto
    • Laboratory of Molecular Evolution and Bioinformatics, Department of MicrobiologyBiomedical Sciences Institute–ICBII, University of São Paulo
    • Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Department of BiologyThe Pennsylvania State University, Mueller Laboratory
    • Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00239-008-9087-3

Cite this article as:
Romano, C.M., Zanotto, P. & Holmes, E.C. J Mol Evol (2008) 66: 292. doi:10.1007/s00239-008-9087-3

Abstract

GB virus C/hepatitis G (GBV-C) is an RNA virus of the family Flaviviridae. Despite replicating with an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, some previous estimates of rates of evolutionary change in GBV-C suggest that it fixes mutations at the anomalously low rate of ∼10−7 nucleotide substitution per site, per year. However, these estimates were largely based on the assumption that GBV-C and its close relative GBV-A (New World monkey GB viruses) codiverged with their primate hosts over millions of years. Herein, we estimated the substitution rate of GBV-C using the largest set of dated GBV-C isolates compiled to date and a Bayesian coalescent approach that utilizes the year of sampling and so is independent of the assumption of codivergence. This revealed a rate of evolutionary change approximately four orders of magnitude higher than that estimated previously, in the range of 10−2 to 10−3 sub/site/year, and hence in line with those previously determined for RNA viruses in general and the Flaviviridae in particular. In addition, we tested the assumption of host-virus codivergence in GBV-A by performing a reconciliation analysis of host and virus phylogenies. Strikingly, we found no statistical evidence for host-virus codivergence in GBV-A, indicating that substitution rates in the GB viruses should not be estimated from host divergence times.

Keywords

GB virus CMolecular clockSubstitution rateCodivergencePhylogenyCoalescent theory

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008