The inflation of SARS-CoV-2 lineages with a high number of accumulated mutations (such as the recent case of Omicron) has risen concerns about the evolutionary capacity of this virus. Here, we propose a computational study to examine non-synonymous mutations gathered within genomes of SARS-CoV-2 from the beginning of the pandemic until February 2022. We provide both qualitative and quantitative descriptions of such corpus, focusing on statistically significant co-occurring and mutually exclusive mutations within single genomes. Then, we examine in depth the distributions of mutations over defined lineages and compare those of frequently co-occurring mutation pairs. Based on this comparison, we study mutations' convergence/divergence on the phylogenetic tree. As a result, we identify 1,818 co-occurring pairs of non-synonymous mutations showing at least one event of convergent evolution and 6,625 co-occurring pairs with at least one event of divergent evolution. Notable examples of both types are shown by means of a tree-based representation of lineages, visually capturing mutations' behaviors. Our method confirms several well-known cases; moreover, the provided evidence suggests that our workflow can explain aspects of the future mutational evolution of SARS-CoV-2.

Analysis of co-occurring and mutually exclusive amino acid changes and detection of convergent and divergent evolution events in SARS-CoV-2

Al Khalaf, Ruba;Bernasconi, Anna;Pinoli, Pietro;Ceri, Stefano
2022-01-01

Abstract

The inflation of SARS-CoV-2 lineages with a high number of accumulated mutations (such as the recent case of Omicron) has risen concerns about the evolutionary capacity of this virus. Here, we propose a computational study to examine non-synonymous mutations gathered within genomes of SARS-CoV-2 from the beginning of the pandemic until February 2022. We provide both qualitative and quantitative descriptions of such corpus, focusing on statistically significant co-occurring and mutually exclusive mutations within single genomes. Then, we examine in depth the distributions of mutations over defined lineages and compare those of frequently co-occurring mutation pairs. Based on this comparison, we study mutations' convergence/divergence on the phylogenetic tree. As a result, we identify 1,818 co-occurring pairs of non-synonymous mutations showing at least one event of convergent evolution and 6,625 co-occurring pairs with at least one event of divergent evolution. Notable examples of both types are shown by means of a tree-based representation of lineages, visually capturing mutations' behaviors. Our method confirms several well-known cases; moreover, the provided evidence suggests that our workflow can explain aspects of the future mutational evolution of SARS-CoV-2.
Co-occurring mutations
Convergent evolution
Divergent evolution
Mutually exclusive mutations
SARS-CoV-2
Statistical testing
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
1-s2.0-S2001037022003312-main.pdf

accesso aperto

: Publisher’s version
Dimensione 2.65 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
2.65 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1219969
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 0
  • Scopus 0
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 0
social impact