Journal of Virology vol:81 issue:5 pages:2382-2390
G12 rotaviruses were first detected in diarrheic children in the Philippines in 1987, but no further cases were reported until 1998. However, G12 rotaviruses have been detected all over the world in recent years. Here, we report the worldwide variations of G12 rotaviruses to investigate the evolutionary mechanisms by which they managed to spread globally in a short period of time. We sequenced the complete genomes (11 segments) of nine G12 rotaviruses isolated in Bangladesh, Belgium, Thailand, and the Philippines and compared them with the genomes of other rotavirus strains. Our genetic analyses revealed that after introduction of the VP7 gene of the rare G12 genotype into more common local strains through reassortment, a vast genetic diversity was generated and several new variants with distinct gene constellations emerged. These reassortment events most likely took place in Southeast Asian countries and spread to other parts of the world. The acquirement of gene segments from human-adapted rotaviruses might allow G12 to better propagate in humans and hence to develop into an important emerging human pathogen.