Reconstruction of the origin and dispersal of the worldwide dominant Hepatitis B Virus subgenotype D1

Nídia Sequeira Trovão, Marijn Thijssen, Bram Vrancken, Andrea Clemencia Pineda-Peña, Thomas Mina, Samad Amini-Bavil-Olyaee, Philippe Lemey, Guy Baele, Mahmoud Reza Pourkarim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV-D1 is the dominant subgenotype in the Mediterranean basin, Eastern Europe, and Asia. However, little is currently known about its evolutionary history and spatio-temporal dynamics. We use Bayesian phylodynamic inference to investigate the temporal history of HBV-D1, for which we calibrate the molecular clock using ancient sequences, and reconstruct the viral global spatial dynamics based, for the first time, on full-length publicly available HBV-D1 genomes from a wide range of sampling dates. We pinpoint the origin of HBV subgenotype D1 before the current era (BCE) in Turkey/Anatolia. The spatial reconstructions reveal global viral transmission with a high degree of mixing. By combining modern-day and ancient sequences, we ensure sufficient temporal signal in HBV-D1 data to enable Bayesian phylodynamic inference using a molecular clock for time calibration. Our results shed light on the worldwide HBV-D1 epidemics and suggest that this originally Middle Eastern virus significantly affects more distant countries, such as those in mainland Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberveac028
JournalVirus Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Bayesian inference
  • D1
  • HBV
  • MCMC
  • full genome
  • phylodynamics
  • temporal signal


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