Molecular Evolution Activities

This is a comprehensive bibliography (under construction) of primary and secondary sources on the neutral theory of molecular evolution. It currently covers the period 1973-2001.

Author :

Yang, Z.;Lauder, I. J.;Lin, H. J.

Year :


Title :

Molecular evolution of the hepatitis B virus genome

Journal :

Journal of Molecular Evolution

Volume :


Issue :


Pages :


Short Title :

Molecular evolution of the hepatitis B virus genome

Custom 3 :


Abstract :

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) has a circular DNA genome of about 3,200 base pairs. Economical use of the genome with overlapping reading frames may have led to severe constraints on nucleotide substitutions along the genome and to highly variable rates of substitution among nucleotide sites. Nucleotide sequences from 13 complete HBV genomes were compared to examine such variability of substitution rates among sites and to examine the phylogenetic relationships among the HBV variants. The maximum likelihood method was employed to fit models of DNA sequence evolution that can account for the complexity of the pattern of nucleotide substitution. Comparison of the models suggests that the rates of substitution are different in different genes and codon positions; for example, the third codon position changes at a rate over ten times higher than the second position. Furthermore, substantial variation of substitution rates was detected even after the effects of genes and codon positions were corrected; that is, rates are different at different sites of the same gene or at the same codon position. Such rates after the correction were also found to be positively correlated at adjacent sites, which indicated the existence of conserved and variable domains in the proteins encoded by the viral genome. A multiparameter model validates the earlier finding that the variation in nucleotide conservation is not random around the HBV genome. The test for the existence of a molecular clock suggests that substitution rates are more or less constant among lineages. The phylogenetic relationships among the viral variants were examined. Although the data do not seem to contain sufficient information to resolve the details of the phylogeny, it appears quite certain that the serotypes of the viral variants do not reflect their genetic relatedness.
 -- contributed by John Beatty, March 29, 2002