Evidence of significant natural selection in the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in bats, not humans
AuthorMacLean, Oscar A.
Singer, Joshua B.
Robertson, David L.
GroupInstitute for Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine (Temple University)
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/241
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AbstractRNA viruses are proficient at switching to novel host species due to their fast mutation rates. Implicit in this assumption is the need to evolve adaptations in the new host species to exploit their cells efficiently. However, SARS-CoV-2 has required no significant adaptation to humans since the pandemic began, with no observed selective sweeps to date. Here we contrast the role of positive selection and recombination in the Sarbecoviruses in horseshoe bats to SARS-CoV-2 evolution in humans. While methods can detect some evidence for positive selection in SARS-CoV-2, we demonstrate these are mostly due to recombination and sequencing artefacts. Purifying selection is also substantially weaker in SARS-CoV-2 than in the related bat Sarbecoviruses. In comparison, our results show evidence for positive, specifically episodic selection, acting on the bat virus lineage SARS-CoV-2 emerged from. This signature of selection can also be observed among synonymous substitutions, for example, linked to ancestral CpG depletion on this bat lineage. We show the bat virus RmYN02 has recombinant CpG content in Spike pointing to coinfection and evolution in bats without involvement of other species. Our results suggest the non-human progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 was capable of human-human transmission as a consequence of its natural evolution in bats.
CitationMacLean OA, Lytras S, Singer JB, et al. Evidence of significant natural selection in the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in bats, not humans. medRxiv doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.28.122366
Citation to related workbioRxiv
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