TT virus (TTV) is a recently discovered infectious agent originally obtained from transfusion-related hepatitis. However, the causative link between the TTV infection and liver disease remains uncertain. Recent studies demonstrated that genome sequences of different TTV strains are significantly divergent. To assess genetic heterogeneity of the TTV genome in more detail, a sequence analysis of PCR fragments (271 bp) amplified from open reading frame 1 (ORF1) was performed. PCR fragments were amplified from 5 to 40% of serum specimens obtained from patients with different forms of hepatitis who reside in different countries (e.g., China, Egypt, Vietnam, and the United States) and from normal human specimens obtained from U.S. residents. A total of 170 PCR fragments were sequenced and compared to sequences derived from the corresponding TTV genome region deposited in GenBank. Genotypes 2 and 3 were found to be significantly more genetically related than any other TTV genotype. Moreover, three sequences were shown to be almost equally related to both genotypes 2 and 3. These observations suggest a merger of genotypes 2 and 3 into one genotype, 2/3. Additionally, five new groups of TTV sequences were identified. One group represents a new genotype, whereas the other four groups were shown to be more evolutionary distant from all known TTV sequences. The evolutionary distances between these four groups were also shown to be greater than between TTV genotypes. The phylogenetic analysis suggested that these four new genetic groups represent closely related yet different viral species. Thus, TTV exists as a "swarm" of at least five closely related but different viruses. These observations suggest a high degree of genetic complexity within the TTV population. The finding of the additional TTV-related species should be taken into consideration when the association between TTV infections and human diseases of unknown etiology is studied.