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Ancient hepatitis B viruses from the Bronze Age to the Medieval period
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Number of Authors: 342018 (English)In: Nature, ISSN 0028-0836, E-ISSN 1476-4687, Vol. 557, no 7705, p. 418-423Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major cause of human hepatitis. There is considerable uncertainty about the timescale of its evolution and its association with humans. Here we present 12 full or partial ancient HBV genomes that are between approximately 0.8 and 4.5 thousand years old. The ancient sequences group either within or in a sister relationship with extant human or other ape HBV clades. Generally, the genome properties follow those of modern HBV. The root of the HBV tree is projected to between 8.6 and 20.9 thousand years ago, and we estimate a substitution rate of 8.04 x 10(-6-)1.51 x 10(-5) nucleotide substitutions per site per year. In several cases, the geographical locations of the ancient genotypes do not match present-day distributions. Genotypes that today are typical of Africa and Asia, and a subgenotype from India, are shown to have an early Eurasian presence. The geographical and temporal patterns that we observe in ancient and modern HBV genotypes are compatible with well-documented human migrations during the Bronze and Iron Ages(1,2). We provide evidence for the creation of HBV genotype A via recombination, and for a long-term association of modern HBV genotypes with humans, including the discovery of a human genotype that is now extinct. These data expose a complexity of HBV evolution that is not evident when considering modern sequences alone.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 557, no 7705, p. 418-423
National Category
Biological Sciences History and Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-157746DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0097-zISI: 000432242000059PubMedID: 29743673OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-157746DiVA, id: diva2:1224162
Available from: 2018-06-26 Created: 2018-06-26 Last updated: 2018-11-28Bibliographically approved

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