By G. S. Hayward, J. -C. Zong (auth.), Chris Boshoff MRCP, Ph.D., Robin A. Weiss Ph.D. (eds.)

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We envisage each of the different genotypes here as being composed of multiple segments with different ages of divergence. Numerical estimated ages (in millions of years) for each segmental domain are given in terms of the timing of its original divergence from the predominant European A prototype pattern, which is presented on the top line. Overall, there is a dramatic trend from left to right across the genome of finding relatively young segments only at the extreme LHS, toward retention of medium-age to older segments as well in the center, and then with some much older segments included as well toward the extreme RHS of the genome.

Whether the events that generated these chimeras occurred between multiple distinct viruses all infecting the same prehuman hosts or instead were derived by recombination with exotic nonhuman but nevertheless “hominid” lineages remains to be elucidated. However, it is very clear from the easily recognized recombination junctions found near the N-terminal regions of ORF75 that both the TMP-N and TMP-M alleles themselves are the only segments of modern-day KSHV genomes that diverged more than 1 million years ago, whereas all of the genomes carrying them that have been detected so far represent chimeras containing these relics of anciently diverged viruses recombined into predominantly modern lineage human KSHV genomes.

C. Zong ences from the BCBL-R gene, whereas at the protein level, the novel N-associated TMP gene displays 29% amino acid differences from the prototype TMP-P protein (BCBL-R) and 69% differences from the prototype TMP-M protein (HBL6). 5% to 2% nucleotide differences for B and D subtypes relative to the prototype A/C subtypes for both TMP-P and TMP-M. Therefore, we consider that TMP-N represents a third distinctive allele with evolutionary hierarchal stature equivalent to that of the TMP-P and TMP-M alleles themselves.

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