Genetic variability of hepatitis B Virus isolates in Poland

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There is very limited knowledge about the genetic variability of HBV strains circulating in the population of Polish chronically infected HBV patients. The aim of this study was to analyse the phylogenetic relatedness and polymorphism in some functional domains of HBV genome among chronically infected patients from northern Poland. Fifty-one serum samples were included to analysis of HBV genomes due to the viral load sufficient for DNA preparation and sequencing. The sequences of the rt polymerase/S and preC/BCP regions of those isolates were analysed, compared to genome sequences of different variants of HBV from GenBank database and genetic relatedness of Polish genotypes to known reference strains was estimated. A phylogenetic tree of 41 analysed genotype A isolates as well as 8 genotype D strains was constructed showing relationship to know reference strains. Two isolates, initially classified as genotype F turned to be related to genotype H, newly described genotype deriving from genotype F, a very rare genotype in Europe. HBV genotypes' distribution pattern in Poland and phylogenetic relatedness seems to be different from our Eastern neighbours. Due to the fact that Poland is still ethnically uniform country, it is interesting to explore molecular epidemiology of HBV infections in our population.

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