Published online Jan 7, 2007. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v13.i1.91
Revised: October 7, 2006
Accepted: November 25, 2006
Published online: January 7, 2007
The human hepatitis B virus (HBV) and the duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) share several fundamental features. Both viruses have a partially double-stranded DNA genome that is replicated via a RNA intermediate and the coding open reading frames (ORFs) overlap extensively. In addition, the genomic and structural organization, as well as replication and biological characteristics, are very similar in both viruses. Most of the key features of hepadnaviral infection were first discovered in the DHBV model system and subsequently confirmed for HBV. There are, however, several differences between human HBV and DHBV. This review will focus on the molecular and cellular biology, evolution, and host adaptation of the avian hepatitis B viruses with particular emphasis on DHBV as a model system.