The microbial forensic use of HIV sequences

  • Learn G
  • Mullins J
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Abstract

Analyses of microbial genetic sequences and phylogenies have become increasingly important in the tracking and investigation of events leading to infections. It has recently been proposed that these activities be termed microbial forensics [1,2]. Studies of HIV have frequently assumed a pivotal role in this developing discipline. Since the evolutionary rate of HIV is so great that it is unlikely to isolate viruses with identical genomes, their sequences provide an exquisite tool to investigate their evolution. The proper use of phylogenetic analyses to study the evolutionary patterns of variation in this retrovirus can enable investigators to discern events during its spread through a population. Forensic studies of HIV sequence data first entered wide public awareness in the early 1990's in the case of the HIV-infected Florida dentist who was suspected of transmitting the virus to patients in his care [3]. Subsequent analyses of the HIV sequences obtained from the dentist and his infected patients strongly supported the finding that most of his patients who had no other risk factor for HIV infection had viruses that were closely related to those of the dentist

Author-supplied keywords

  • EVOLUTION
  • GENOME
  • GENOMES
  • HIV
  • INFECTION
  • ISOLATE
  • PATIENT
  • PATTERN
  • PATTERNS
  • PHYLOGENIES
  • POPULATION
  • Patients
  • RETROVIRUS
  • Risk
  • SEQUENCE
  • VIRUSES
  • factor
  • forensic
  • forensics
  • microbial
  • molecular epidemiology
  • phylogenetic
  • phylogeny
  • sequences
  • virus

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Authors

  • G H Learn

  • J I Mullins

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