The genomic recombination events may reveal the evolution of coronavirus and the origination of 2019-nCoV

Zhenglin Zhu, Kaiwen Meng, Geng Meng

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Received date: 24th March 2020

To trace the evolution of coronavirus and reveal the possible origination of the novel pneumonia coronavirus (2019-nCoV), we collected and thoroughly analyzed 2966 publicly available coronavirus genomes, including 182 2019-nCoVs strains. We observed 3 independent recombination events with statistical significance between some isolates from bats and pangolins. In consistence with previous records, we also detected the putative recombination between Bat-CoV-RaTG13 and Pangolin-CoV-2019 covering the receptor bind domain (RBD) of the spike glycoprotein (S protein), which may lead to the origination of 2019-nCoV. Population genetic analyses give estimations indicating that the recombinant region around RBD is possibly undergoing directional evolution. This may result to the adaption of the virus to be infectious in hosts. Not surprisingly, we find that the S protein of coronavirus keeps high diversity among bat isolates, which may provide a genetic pool for the origination of 2019-nCoV.

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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.

Scientific Reports

Nature Research, Springer Nature