Volume 96, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Yellow fever virus (YFV) has emerged as the causative agent of a vector-borne disease with devastating mortality in the tropics of Africa and the Americas. YFV phylogenies indicate that the isolates collected from West Africa, East and Central Africa, and South America cluster into different lineages and the virus spread into the Americas from Africa. To determine the nature of genetic variation accompanying the intercontinental epidemic, we performed a genome-wide evolutionary study on the West African and South American lineages of YFV. Our results reveal that adaptive genetic diversification has occurred on viral nonstructural protein 5 (NS5), which is crucially required for viral genome replication, in the early epidemic phase of these currently circulating lineages. Furthermore, major amino acid changes relevant to the adaptive diversification generally cluster in different structural regions of NS5 in a lineage-specific manner. These results suggest that YFV has experienced adaptive diversification in the epidemic spread between the continents and shed insights into the genetic determinants of such diversification, which might be beneficial for understanding the emergence and re-emergence of yellow fever as an important global public health issue.


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  • Received : 25 Aug 2016
  • Accepted : 10 Nov 2016
  • Published online : 02 Jan 2017

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