The rare hepatitis B virus genotype I (HBV-I) classification includes complex A/G/C/U recombinants identified amongst the individuals from China, India, Laos, and Vietnam. Herein we report the first HBV-I specimen from Thailand, with detectable HBsAg despite a 10-amino-acid truncation. This HBV-I genome has a similar recombinant pattern to reference strains, including a C region that branches basal to references, suggesting a premodern era recombination event gave rise to HBV-I. With an average sequence divergence from other genotypes ranging from 7.66% (standard deviation [SD], 0.42%; C) to 14.27% (SD, 0.31%; H), this new genome supports the HBV-I classification as a unique genotype.
Keywords: hepatitis B virus; recombinant virus; recombination; virus classification.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.