Phylogenetic evidence for recombination in dengue virus.
A split decomposition analysis of dengue (DEN) virus gene sequences revealed extensive networked evolution, indicative of recombination, among DEN-1 strains but not within serotypes DEN-2, DEN-3, or DEN-4. Within DEN-1, two viruses sampled from South America in the last 10 years were identified as recombinants. To map the breakpoints and test their statistical support, we developed a novel maximum likelihood method. In both recombinants, the breakpoints were found to be in similar positions, within the fusion peptide of the envelope protein, demonstrating that a single recombination event occurred prior to the divergence of these two strains. This is the first report of recombination in natural populations of dengue virus.