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dc.creatorMacLean, Oscar A.
dc.creatorLytras, Spyros
dc.creatorWeaver, Steven
dc.creatorSinger, Joshua B.
dc.creatorBoni, Maciej F.
dc.creatorLerney, Philippe
dc.creatorKosakovsky Pond, Sergei L.
dc.creatorRobertson, David L.
dc.identifier.citationMacLean OA, Lytras S, Weaver S, Singer JB, Boni MF, Lemey P, et al. (2021) Natural selection in the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in bats created a generalist virus and highly capable human pathogen. PLoS Biol 19(3): e3001115.
dc.description.abstractVirus host shifts are generally associated with novel adaptations to exploit the cells of the new host species optimally. Surprisingly, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has apparently required little to no significant adaptation to humans since the start of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and to October 2020. Here we assess the types of natural selection taking place in Sarbecoviruses in horseshoe bats versus the early SARS-CoV-2 evolution in humans. While there is moderate evidence of diversifying positive selection in SARS-CoV-2 in humans, it is limited to the early phase of the pandemic, and purifying selection is much weaker in SARS-CoV-2 than in related bat Sarbecoviruses. In contrast, our analysis detects evidence for significant positive episodic diversifying selection acting at the base of the bat virus lineage SARS-CoV-2 emerged from, accompanied by an adaptive depletion in CpG composition presumed to be linked to the action of antiviral mechanisms in these ancestral bat hosts. The closest bat virus to SARS-CoV-2, RmYN02 (sharing an ancestor about 1976), is a recombinant with a structure that includes differential CpG content in Spike; clear evidence of coinfection and evolution in bats without involvement of other species. While an undiscovered “facilitating” intermediate species cannot be discounted, collectively, our results support the progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 being capable of efficient human–human transmission as a consequence of its adaptive evolutionary history in bats, not humans, which created a relatively generalist virus.
dc.format.extent20 pages
dc.relation.ispartofCOVID-19 Research
dc.relation.haspartPLoS Biology, Vol. 19, No. 3
dc.relation.isreferencedbyPublic Library of Science
dc.rightsAttribution CC BY
dc.subjectSARS CoV 2
dc.subjectViral evolution
dc.subjectPhylogenetic analysis
dc.subjectSARS coronavirus
dc.subjectNatural selection
dc.titleNatural selection in the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in bats created a generalist virus and highly capable human pathogen
dc.type.genreJournal article
dc.contributor.groupInstitute for Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine (iGEM) (Temple University)
dc.ada.noteFor Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation, including help with reading this content, please contact
dc.description.schoolcollegeTemple University. College of Science and Technology
dc.creator.orcidKosakovsky Pond|0000-0003-4817-4029
dc.temple.creatorWeaver, Steven
dc.temple.creatorKosakovsky Pond, Sergei L.

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