Modern evolutionary history of the human KSHV genome

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2007;312:1-42. doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-34344-8_1.


The genomes of several human herpesviruses, including Kaposi sarcoma (KS) herpesvirus (KSHV), display surprisingly high levels of both genetic diversity and clustered subtyping at certain loci. We have been interested in understanding this phenomenon with the hope that it might be a useful diagnostic tool for viral epidemiology, and that it might provide some insights about how these large viral genomes evolve over a relatively short timescale. To do so, we have carried out extensive PCR DNA sequence analysis across the genomes of 200 distinct KSHV samples collected from KS patients around the world. Here we review and summarize current understanding of the origins of KSHV variability, the spread of KSHV and its human hosts out of Africa, the existence of chimeric genomes, and the concept that different segments of the genome have had different evolutionary histories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Herpesvirus 8, Human / classification
  • Herpesvirus 8, Human / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Multigene Family
  • Phylogeny
  • Viral Proteins / genetics


  • K1 protein, Human herpesvirus 8
  • LAMP protein, Herpesvirus 8, Human
  • Viral Proteins