Statistical analysis of nucleotide sequences of the hemagglutinin gene of human influenza A viruses.
To examine whether positive selection operates on the hemagglutinin 1 (HA1) gene of human influenza A viruses (H1 subtype), 21 nucleotide sequences of the HA1 gene were statistically analyzed. The nucleotide sequences were divided into antigenic and nonantigenic sites. The nucleotide diversities for antigenic and nonantigenic sites of the HA1 gene were computed at synonymous and nonsynonymous sites separately. For nonantigenic sites, the nucleotide diversities were larger at synonymous sites than at nonsynonymous sites. This is consistent with the neutral theory of molecular evolution. For antigenic sites, however, the nucleotide diversities at nonsynonymous sites were larger than those at synonymous sites. These results suggest that positive selection operates on antigenic sites of the HA1 gene of human influenza A viruses (H1 subtype).