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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a leading worldwide cause of liver disease. Here, we use a new model of HCV spread to investigate the epidemic behavior of the virus and to estimate its basic reproductive number from gene sequence data. We find significant differences in epidemic behavior among HCV subtypes and suggest that these differences are largely the result of subtype-specific transmission patterns. Our model builds a bridge between the disciplines of population genetics and mathematical epidemiology by using pathogen gene sequences to infer the population dynamic history of an infectious disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Science (New York, N.Y.)

Publication Date





2323 - 2325


Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PS, UK.


Humans, Hepacivirus, Hepatitis C, Substance Abuse, Intravenous, Prevalence, Epidemiology, Molecular, Likelihood Functions, Endemic Diseases, Population Dynamics, Phylogeny, Genes, Viral, Models, Biological