The paper “The Origin and Continuing Evolution of SARS-CoV-2”, co-authored by Lu Jian, School of Life Sciences, Peking University, and Cui Jie Ofthe Research Group of the Shanghai Pasteur Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is published in the National Scientific Review, a comprehensive English-language journal sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to conduct in-depth research and interpretation of the evolution of the new coronavirus genome.
This study first proposed the existence of two major genealogy of the new coronavirus, from the genomic level to deepen our understanding of this new virus, the clinical diagnosis of the new coronary pneumonia outbreak has important reference value.
Through systematic analysis of the new coronavirus and the near-edge virus, Lu Jian’s team and Cui Jie’s team found that although the genome difference between the new coronavirus and the bat coronavirus RaTG13 was small, the difference between the neutral evolutionary sites in the genome was as high as 17%, indicating that the new coronavirus experienced very strong natural selection in the evolutionary process. By comparing the new coronavirus with the nucleotides of the coronavirus from the Malay pangolin, it is speculated that the new coronavirus and its divisive events are not recent, and suggests that the origin of the new coronavirus may be more complex.
By analyzing the molecular evolution system of the only 103 new coronavirus genomes in the public database at that time, Lu Jian and Cui Jie’s team found for the first time that the amino acids corresponding to the two highly interlocking mutation sites (located in the reference genome 8782 and 28144, respectively), could be divided into “L” and “S” respectively, because the amino acids corresponding to the mutations of the genome 28144 were leucine (L) and silk (S) respectively. Of the 103 new coronavirus samples, 72 were “L” and 29 were “S” genealogy; Although the “L” lineage is more common than the “S” lineage, further analysis shows that the “S” lineage is closer to viruses found in bats and pangolins, suggesting that the “S” is older. Their data analysis also suggests that the L and S pedigrees of the new coronavirus are not newly created by base changes, but may have existed in the early stages of the virus outbreak. “Our study has deepened understanding of the new coronavirus from the perspective of molecular evolution,” Lu said.
“Our previous study was based on a molecular evolution system analysis of the whole sequence of 103 new coronavirus genomes at the time, resulting in preliminary phased results; “The Lu Jian team is studying the changing trends of the new coronavirus sequence in the world, and has worked with the relevant teams of Guangzhou Medical University and Wuhan University to combine evolutionary analysis with clinical data for further research.” “We hope to further work with virologists, clinicians and other researchers in more fields to better understand the virus with more genomic data, clinical information and experimental data, to seek the best treatment based on a full understanding of the virus, to serve the scientific anti-epidemic policy formulation, and ultimately overcome the epidemic.” Lu Jian said.