Analysis of partial nucleotide sequences of nine West Nile virus strains isolated in southeast Texas during June-August 2002 revealed a maximum of 0.35% nucleotide variation from a New York 1999 strain. Two sequence subtypes were identified that differed from each other by approximately 0.5%, suggesting multiple introductions of virus to this area. Analysis of sequences from cloned PCR products for one strain revealed up to 0.6% divergence from the consensus sequence at the subpopulation level. The presence of unique patterns of small numbers of mutations in North American West Nile strains studied to date may suggest the absence of a strong selective pressure to drive the emergence of dominant variants.
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