Volume 42 Issue 6
Nov.  2021
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Min-Sheng Peng, Jian-Bo Li, Zheng-Fei Cai, Hang Liu, Xiaolu Tang, Ruochen Ying, Jia-Nan Zhang, Jia-Jun Tao, Ting-Ting Yin, Tao Zhang, Jing-Yang Hu, Ru-Nian Wu, Zhong-Yin Zhou, Zhi-Gang Zhang, Li Yu, Yong-Gang Yao, Zheng-Li Shi, Xue-Mei Lu, Jian Lu, Ya-Ping Zhang. The high diversity of SARS-CoV-2-related coronaviruses in pangolins alerts potential ecological risks. Zoological Research, 2021, 42(6): 834-844. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2021.334
Citation: Min-Sheng Peng, Jian-Bo Li, Zheng-Fei Cai, Hang Liu, Xiaolu Tang, Ruochen Ying, Jia-Nan Zhang, Jia-Jun Tao, Ting-Ting Yin, Tao Zhang, Jing-Yang Hu, Ru-Nian Wu, Zhong-Yin Zhou, Zhi-Gang Zhang, Li Yu, Yong-Gang Yao, Zheng-Li Shi, Xue-Mei Lu, Jian Lu, Ya-Ping Zhang. The high diversity of SARS-CoV-2-related coronaviruses in pangolins alerts potential ecological risks. Zoological Research, 2021, 42(6): 834-844. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2021.334

The high diversity of SARS-CoV-2-related coronaviruses in pangolins alerts potential ecological risks

doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2021.334
#Authors contributed equally to this work
Funds:  This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Projects of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, National Key Research and Development Program of China (2021YFC0863300), Ministry of Agriculture of China (2016ZX08009003-006), Key Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (KJZD-SW-L11), and Animal Branch of the Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, Chinese Academy of Sciences (the Large Research Infrastructure Funding)
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  • Understanding the zoonotic origin and evolution history of SARS-CoV-2 will provide critical insights for alerting and preventing future outbreaks. A significant gap remains for the possible role of pangolins as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 related coronaviruses (SC2r-CoVs). Here, we screened SC2r-CoVs in 172 samples from 163 pangolin individuals of four species, and detected positive signals in muscles of four Manis javanica and, for the first time, one M. pentadactyla. Phylogeographic analysis of pangolin mitochondrial DNA traced their origins from Southeast Asia. Using in-solution hybridization capture sequencing, we assembled a partial pangolin SC2r-CoV (pangolin-CoV) genome sequence of 22895 bp (MP20) from the M. pentadactyla sample. Phylogenetic analyses revealed MP20 was very closely related to pangolin-CoVs that were identified in M. javanica seized by Guangxi Customs. A genetic contribution of bat coronavirus to pangolin-CoVs via recombination was indicated. Our analysis revealed that the genetic diversity of pangolin-CoVs is substantially higher than previously anticipated. Given the potential infectivity of pangolin-CoVs, the high genetic diversity of pangolin-CoVs alerts the ecological risk of zoonotic evolution and transmission of pathogenic SC2r-CoVs.
  • #Authors contributed equally to this work
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