UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology; Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems; Program in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology; Department of Pediatrics

Publication Date


Document Type



Cytomegalovirus; Cytomegalovirus Infections; *Genetic Variation; Genome, Viral; High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing; Humans; Infant, Newborn; Infant, Newborn, Diseases; Molecular Sequence Data; Sequence Alignment; Sequence Analysis, DNA


Immunology and Infectious Disease | Microbiology


Research has shown that RNA virus populations are highly variable, most likely due to low fidelity replication of RNA genomes. It is generally assumed that populations of DNA viruses will be less complex and show reduced variability when compared to RNA viruses. Here, we describe the use of high throughput sequencing for a genome wide study of viral populations from urine samples of neonates with congenital human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infections. We show that HCMV intrahost genomic variability, both at the nucleotide and amino acid level, is comparable to many RNA viruses, including HIV. Within intrahost populations, we find evidence of selective sweeps that may have resulted from immune-mediated mechanisms. Similarly, genome wide, population genetic analyses suggest that positive selection has contributed to the divergence of the HCMV species from its most recent ancestor. These data provide evidence that HCMV, a virus with a large dsDNA genome, exists as a complex mixture of genome types in humans and offer insights into the evolution of the virus.


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Copyright 2011 Renzette et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI of Published Version



PLoS Pathog. 2011 May;7(5):e1001344. Epub 2011 May 19. doi 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001344. Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

PLoS pathogens

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID