Objective: The aim of this study was to test the relationship between Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) phylogeny and host ethnicity at the within-country scale. Methods: KSHV genomic DNA samples were isolated from 31 patients across eleven Ugandan ethnic groups. Amino acid sequences of the ORF-K1 gene were used to construct a neighbor-joining phylogenetic tree. Results: A5 and B1 variants predominated with no evidence of distinct ethnic or geographic distribution. A new K1 subtype (F) was identified in a member of the Bantu Gisu tribe and a new subtype B variant (B3) among members of the Bantu Ganda tribe. Conclusions: The phylogeny may yet be structured by host ethnicity if members of Ugandan groups have convoluted biological origins, even as they identify with single tribes. An alternative possibility is that KSHV subtype evolution may have preceded major diversification of sub-Saharan Africans into ethnicities as we know them today, with ethnic groups beginning their histories already hosting multiple subtypes. A third alternative is that horizontal transmission of multiple KSHV subtypes may have broken up vertical lineages of the virus passed down within Ugandan populations.
- Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus
- Ugandan diversity
- Viral phylogeny
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases