Oct 22, 2016

The 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa highlights no evidence of rapid evolution or adaptation to humans

Scientific Reports
Xingguang LiYiming Shao

Abstract

Following its immergence in December 2013, the recent Zaire Ebola virus (EBOV) outbreak in West Africa has spread and persisted for more than two years, making it the largest EBOV epidemic in both scale and geographical region to date. In this study, a total of 726 glycoprotein (GP) gene sequences of the EBOV full-length genome obtained from West Africa from the 2014 outbreak, combined with 30 from earlier outbreaks between 1976 and 2008 were used to investigate the genetic divergence, evolutionary history, population dynamics, and selection pressure of EBOV among distinct epidemic waves. Results from our dataset showed that no non-synonymous substitutions occurred on the GP gene coding sequences of EBOV that were likely to have affected protein structure or function in any way. Furthermore, the significantly different dN/dS ratios observed between the 2014 West African outbreak and earlier outbreaks were more likely due to the confounding presence of segregating polymorphisms. Our results highlight no robust evidence that the 2014 EBOV outbreak is fast-evolving and adapting to humans. Therefore, the unprecedented nature of the 2014 EBOV outbreak might be more likely related to non-virological elements, such as environmental an...Continue Reading

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References

  • References52
  • Citations1

Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Genetic Drift
Gene Polymorphism
Study
Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola
Virus Diseases
Ebola virus
Genome
Genes
Sequence Determinations, RNA
Likelihood Functions

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