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Comprehensive evolution and molecular characteristics of a large number of SARS-CoV-2 genomes revealed its epidemic trend and possible origins

By Yunmeng Bai, Dawei Jiang, Jerome Rumdon Lon, Xiaoshi Chen, Meiling Hu, Shudai Lin, Zixi Chen, Xiaoning Wang, Yuhuan Meng, Hongli Du

Posted 24 Apr 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.24.058933

Objectives: To reveal epidemic trend and possible origins of SARS-CoV-2 by exploring its evolution and molecular characteristics based on a large number of genomes since it has infected millions of people and spread quickly all over the world. Methods: Various evolution analysis methods were employed. Results: The estimated Ka/Ks ratio of SARS-CoV-2 is 1.008 or 1.094 based on 622 or 3624 SARS-CoV-2 genomes, and the time to the most recent common ancestor (tMRCA) was inferred in late September 2019. Further 9 key specific sites of highly linkage and four major haplotypes H1, H2, H3 and H4 were found. The Ka/Ks, detected population size and development trends of each major haplotype showed H3 and H4 subgroups were going through a purify evolution and almost disappeared after detection, indicating H3 and H4 might have existed for a long time, while H1 and H2 subgroups were going through a near neutral or neutral evolution and globally increased with time. Notably the frequency of H1 was generally high in Europe and correlated to death rate (r>0.37). Conclusions: In this study, the evolution and molecular characteristics of more than 16000 genomic sequences provided a new perspective for revealing epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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