The viral genome quasispecies composition of hepatitis C virus (HCV) could have important implications to viral pathogenesis and resistance to anti-viral treatment. The purpose of the present study was to profile the HCV RNA quasispecies. We developed a strategy to determine the full-length HCV genome sequences co-existing within a single patient serum by using next-generation sequencing technologies. The isolated viral clones were divided into the groups that can be distinguished by core amino acid 70 substitution. Subsequently, we determined HCV full-length genome sequences of three independent dominant species co-existing in the sequential serum with a 7-year interval. From phylogenetic analysis, these dominant species evolved independently. Our study demonstrated that multiple dominant species co-existed in patient sera and evolved independently.
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