Ongoing Adaptive Evolution and Globalization of Sars-Cov-2.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Nash D RochmanEugene V Koonin


Unprecedented sequencing efforts have, as of October 2020, produced over 100,000 genomes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that is responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Understanding the trends in SARS-CoV-2 evolution is paramount to control the pandemic. Although this extensive data availability quickly facilitated the development of vaccine candidates 1 , major challenges in the analysis of this enormous dataset persist, limiting the ability of public health officials to translate science into policy. Having evolved over a short period of time, the SARS-CoV-2 isolates show low diversity, necessitating analysis of trees built from genome-scale data. Here we provide a complete ancestral genome reconstruction for SARS-CoV-2 leveraging Fitch Traceback 2 . We show that the ongoing evolution of SARS-CoV-2 over the course of the pandemic is characterized primarily by purifying selection. However, a small set of sites, including the extensively studied spike 614 3 , harbor mutations which recurred on multiple, independent occasions, indicative of positive selection. These mutations form a strongly connected network of apparent epistatic interactions. The phylogenetic tree of SARS-CoV-2 consists of...Continue Reading


Apr 18, 2021·Experimental & Molecular Medicine·Devika Singh, Soojin V Yi

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