Different evolutionary rates and epidemic growth of hepatitis B virus genotypes A and D

Gianguglielmo Zehender, Chiara De Maddalena, Camilla Giambelli, Laura Milazzo, Monica Schiavini, Raffaele Bruno, Elisabetta Tanzi, Massimo Galli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The epidemiological history of HBV genotypes A and D and subgenotypes A2 and D3 was studied on 132 isolates drawn between 1980 and 2005 from patients living in a homogenous geographical area. Evolutionary rates and divergence dates were estimated and HBV demographic history was reconstructed by using a statistical approach based on coalescent theory. The evolutionary rate of A2 was significantly lower than that of D3. The growth rate of D3 epidemic was significantly faster than that of A2; both subgenotypes showed a decreasing growth rate from the mid-1980s. Our data suggest that the important discrepancies observed in the evolutionary rates of HBV genotypes A and D may reflect different population dynamics of their epidemics. These results show the usefulness of phylodynamic studies in reconstructing the history of epidemics due to highly variable DNA viruses, and in evaluating the long-term efficacy of prophylactic measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-90
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 10 2008


  • Basic reproductive number
  • Coalescent
  • HBV
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Molecular evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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