Recurrent mutations in SARS-CoV-2 genomes isolated from mink point to rapid host-adaptation
Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the agent of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, jumped into humans from an unknown animal reservoir in late 2019. In line with other coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 has the potential to infect a broad range of hosts. SARS-CoV-2 genomes have now been isolated from cats, dogs, lions, tigers and minks. SARS-CoV-2 seems to transmit particularly well in mink farms with outbreaks reported in Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, the USA and Denmark. Genomic data from SARS-CoV-2 isolated from infected minks provides a natural case study of a secondary host jump of the virus, in this case from humans to animals, and occasionally back again. We screened published SARS-CoV-2 genomes isolated from minks for the presence of recurrent mutations common in mink but infrequent in SARS-CoV-2 genomes from human infections. We identify 23 recurrent mutations including three nonsynonymous mutations in the Receptor Binding Domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that independently emerged at least four times but are only very rarely observed in strains circulating in humans. The repeat emergence of mutations across phylogenetically distinct lineages of the virus isolated from minks points to ongoing adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 to a new host. The rapid acquisition and spread of SARS-CoV-2 mutations in minks suggests that if a similar phenomenon of host adaptation had occurred upon its jump into humans, those human-specific mutations would likely have reached fixation already before the first SARS-CoV-2 genomes were generated. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
- Downloaded 5,367 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 2,328
- In genomics: 201
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 1,359
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 9,401
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!