HDV Genetic Distances and Geography

Similar to HCV (Morice et al. 2001) and HBV (Ganne-Carrie et al., 2006), the delta viruses characterized in Paris (France) showed a wide African distribution. For example, the six full-length viral RNA sequences were obtained from five patients from Western or Central sub-Saharan African countries (Cameroon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, and Republic of Congo) and from an adult Polish woman who had lived in Cameroon for 3 years. To determine whether the geographic distribution of the HDV isolates was correlated with their levels of sequence divergence, we compared the Kimura-2-parameter pairwise distances between full-genome sequences with the relative geographic distances matrix of the capitals of the countries where the patients had been infected. To compare two quantitative continuous variables, we decided to calculate the correlation coefficient to evaluate the degree of proportionality of data sets. When the ubiquitous type-I sequences were removed, a significant statistical correlation was observed between the two matrices (Pearson correlation coefficient: r = 0.791; P < 0.0001). Because r = 0.791, we can estimate that in this data set the Kimura-2 genetic distances and the corresponding relative geographical distances were directly proportional, with a minimal risk of error (0.0001).

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