Phylogenetic supertree reveals detailed evolution of SARS-CoV-2

Tingting Li, Dongxia Liu, Yadi Yang, Jiali Guo, Yujie Feng, Xinmo Zhang, Shilong Cheng, Jie Feng

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Received date: 3rd May 2020

Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the emerged coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is spreading globally. The origin of SARS-Cov-19 and its evolutionary relationship is still ambiguous. Several reports attempted to figure out this critical issue by genome-based phylogenetic analysis, yet limited progress was obtained, principally owing to the disability of these methods to reasonably integrate phylogenetic information from all genes of SARS-CoV-2. Supertree method based on multiple trees can produce the overall reasonable phylogenetic tree. However, the supertree method has been barely used for phylogenetic analysis of viruses. Here we applied the MRP (matrix representation with parsimony) pseudo-sequence supertree analysis to study the origin and evolution of SARS-CoV-2. Compared with other phylogenetic analysis methods, the supertree method showed more resolution power for phylogenetic analysis of coronaviruses. In particular, the MRP pseudo-sequence supertree analysis firmly disputes bat coronavirus RaTG13 be the last common ancestor of SARS-CoV-2, which was implied by other phylogenetic tree analysis based on viral genome sequences. Furthermore, the discovery of evolution and mutation in SARS-CoV-2 was achieved by MRP pseudo-sequence supertree analysis. Taken together, the MRP pseudo-sequence supertree provided more information on the SARS-CoV-2 evolution inference relative to the normal phylogenetic tree based on full-length genomic sequences.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on a preprint server, which is currently undergoing peer review at Scientific Reports. The findings have yet to be thoroughly evaluated, nor has a decision on ultimate publication been made. Therefore, the results reported should not be considered conclusive, and these findings should not be used to inform clinical practice, or public health policy, or be promoted as verified information.

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