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The evolutionary drivers and correlates of viral host jumps

Tan, Cedric CS; van Dorp, Lucy; Balloux, Francois; (2024) The evolutionary drivers and correlates of viral host jumps. Nature Ecology & Evolution 10.1038/s41559-024-02353-4. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Most emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases stem from viruses that naturally circulate in non-human vertebrates. When these viruses cross over into humans, they can cause disease outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics. While zoonotic host jumps have been extensively studied from an ecological perspective, little attention has gone into characterizing the evolutionary drivers and correlates underlying these events. To address this gap, we harnessed the entirety of publicly available viral genomic data, employing a comprehensive suite of network and phylogenetic analyses to investigate the evolutionary mechanisms underpinning recent viral host jumps. Surprisingly, we find that humans are as much a source as a sink for viral spillover events, insofar as we infer more viral host jumps from humans to other animals than from animals to humans. Moreover, we demonstrate heightened evolution in viral lineages that involve putative host jumps. We further observe that the extent of adaptation associated with a host jump is lower for viruses with broader host ranges. Finally, we show that the genomic targets of natural selection associated with host jumps vary across different viral families, with either structural or auxiliary genes being the prime targets of selection. Collectively, our results illuminate some of the evolutionary drivers underlying viral host jumps that may contribute to mitigating viral threats across species boundaries.

Type: Article
Title: The evolutionary drivers and correlates of viral host jumps
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41559-024-02353-4
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-024-02353-4
Language: English
Additional information: © 2024 Springer Nature Limited. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10189948
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