Published on Thu Feb 13 2020

Evidence of recombination in coronaviruses implicating pangolin origins of nCoV-2019

Wong, M. C., Javornik Cregeen, S. J., Ajami, N. J., Petrosino, J. F.

A novel coronavirus (nCoV-2019) was the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December of 2019. Genomic analyses determined a 96% resemblance with a coronav virus isolated from a bat in 2013 (Ra

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Abstract

A novel coronavirus (nCoV-2019) was the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December of 2019. Genomic analyses of nCoV-2019 determined a 96% resemblance with a coronavirus isolated from a bat in 2013 (RaTG13); however, the receptor binding motif (RBM) of these two genomes share low sequence similarity. This divergence suggests a possible alternative source for the RBM coding sequence in nCoV-2019. We identified high sequence similarity in the RBM between nCoV-2019 and a coronavirus genome reconstructed from a viral metagenomic dataset from pangolins possibly indicating a more complex origin for nCoV-2019.