Genetic diversity and models of viral evolution for the hepatitis C virus.
Stumpf MPH., Pybus OG.
In this review we discuss the application of theoretical frameworks to the interpretation of viral gene sequence data, with particular reference to the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The increasing availability of such data means that it is now possible (and necessary) to proceed from simple qualitative models of viral evolution, to more quantitative frameworks based on statistical inference, notably population genetics and molecular phylogenetics. We argue that these approaches are invaluable tools to the virologist and are essential for understanding the dynamics of viral infection and the outcome of therapeutic strategies. We use several recent HCV data-sets to illustrate the methods.