Phylogenetic Relationships Among JC Virus Strains in Japanese/Koreans and Native Americans Speaking Amerind or Na-Dene
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Many genetic studies using human mtDNA or the Y chromosome have been conducted to elucidate the relationships among the three Native American groups speaking Amerind, Na-Dene, and Eskimo-Aleut. Human polyomavirus JC (JCV) may also help to gain insights into this issue. JCV isolates are classified into more than 10 geographically distinct genotypes (designated subtypes here), which were generated by splits in the three superclusters, Types A, B, and C. A particular subtype of JCV (named MY) belonging to Type B is spread in both Japanese/Koreans and Native Americans speaking Amerind or Na-Dene. In this study, we evaluated the phylogenetic relationships among MY isolates worldwide, using the whole-genome approach, with which a highly reliable phylogeny of JCV isolates can be reconstructed. Thirty-six complete sequences belonging to MY (10 from Japanese/Koreans, 24 from Native Americans, and 2 from others), together with 54 belonging to other subtypes around the world, were aligned and subjected to phylogenetic analysis using the neighbor-joining and maximum-likelihood methods. In the resultant phylogenetic trees, the MY sequences diverged into two Japanese/Korean and five Native American clades with high bootstrap probabilities. Two of the Native American clades contained isolates mainly from Na-Denes and the others contained isolates mainly from Amerinds. The Na-Dene clades were not clustered together, nor were the Amerind clades. In contrast, the two Japanese/Korean clades were clustered at a high bootstrap probability. We concluded that there is no distinction between Amerinds and Na-Denes in terms of indigenous JCVs, although they are linguistically distinguished from each other.
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