Phylodynamic analysis of the monkeypox virus genome suggests low genetic variation and evolutionary rates

Phylodynamic analysis of the monkeypox virus genome suggests low genetic variation and evolutionary rates

In a latest research printed within the Journal of Medical Medication, researchers explored the genetic variability among the many monkeypox virus genomes of Clade IIb lineage B.1 utilizing a phylodynamic and genetic survey to substantiate the epidemic cluster within the clade and perceive the evolution of the virus.

Study: Genetic Variability of the Monkeypox Virus Clade IIb B.1. Image Credit: Dotted Yeti/Shutterstock
Research: Genetic Variability of the Monkeypox Virus Clade IIb B.1. Picture Credit score: Dotted Yeti/Shutterstock


The etiological agent of monkeypox is a zoonotic, double-stranded deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) virus referred to as the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the identical household (Poxviridae) because the causative agent of smallpox. Till lately, the illness was endemic to central and western Africa, with the monkeypox viruses forming two clades — the Congo Basin or Central African clade (Clade I) and the West African clade (Clade II).

The 2022 outbreak of monkeypox exterior the endemic areas has been attributed to the Clade II monkeypox viruses, that are much less virulent and extreme, as evidenced by the decrease demise price in comparison with infections with Clade I viruses. Nonetheless, given the speedy unfold of the illness in non-endemic areas, you will need to monitor the genetic variation inside the clade.

In regards to the research

The current research used 1271 monkeypox virus entire genomes accessed via the International Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Knowledge (GISAID) database. The sequences had been aligned utilizing A number of Alignment with Quick Fourier Remodel (MAFFT). The Pairwise Homoplasy Index or PHI (Φ) check was used to bypass bias as a result of recombination or indels.

A hard and fast evolutionary price carried out within the Bayesian Evolutionary Evaluation by Sampling Bushes (BEAST) software program was used to reconstruct the inhabitants dynamics inside the monkeypox genomes. The researchers additionally carried out a tip-to-root regression on a most chance phylogeny to confirm its temporal alerts. Moreover, genetic epidemiology was reconstructed.


The outcomes from the Φ check indicated an absence of recombination, insertion, or deletion occasions and reported all of the pairwise analyzed parsimony informative websites to be suitable. The Bayesian Skyline Plot indicated no main modifications in genetic variability between samples collected in early Could 2022 and late August of the identical yr. Nonetheless, the genetic variability then confirmed a slight lower after which a rise, reaching a plateau in September 2022.

The authors famous that the genetic variability development proven by the monkeypox virus was in distinction to the development of extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which mutated quickly throughout the coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The genetic variability modifications seen within the monkeypox virus defined the gradual inhabitants dimension development price. The phylogenomic reconstruction displayed small unbiased clusters, with some specimens frequent to 2 clusters. Nonetheless, the general reconstruction sample allowed the clusters to be correlated to particular geographical areas of origin. Moreover, the few localized clusters that did emerge didn’t appear to have any descendants and had been evolutionarily blind lineages.

Moreover, the tip-to-root regression evaluation indicated no correlation between the sampling dates and sequence divergence, indicating low genetic variability. DNA viruses are recognized to evolve slower than ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses, inflicting the analysis of divergence regarding time troublesome. Nonetheless, there do exist DNA viruses, such because the herpesviruses, that exhibit comparable genetic variability as RNA viruses. Nonetheless, the monkeypox virus lacks the excessive mutation price wanted for elevated genetic variability.

From the attitude of human well being, the low genetic variability of the monkeypox virus presents a bonus because it limits the unfold of the illness. The authors cautioned that regardless of decrease evolutionary charges than different viruses akin to SARS-CoV-2, the monkeypox virus lineage B.1 is evolving sooner than the opposite lineages, and genomic surveillance of monkeypox clusters is important to maintain the illness in examine.


To summarize, the research used printed entire genome sequences of the monkeypox virus to discover the genetic variation and phylogenomic patterns inside the Clade IIb lineage B.1. The outcomes steered low genetic variability and evolutionary charges among the many epidemic cluster from the 2022 outbreak, which could possibly be attributed to the gradual evolution of DNA viruses.

Nonetheless, the authors imagine that the decreased virulence and severity and the low genetic variation don’t indicate a much less cautious method to the present monkeypox outbreak. Monitoring the genetic variations inside the monkeypox virus clusters is crucial in limiting the unfold of the illness.

Journal reference:

Scarpa, F., Sanna, D., Azzena, I., Cossu, P., Locci, C., Angeletti, S., Maruotti, A., Ceccarelli, G., Casu, M., Fiori, P. L., Petrosillo, N., & Ciccozzi, M. (2022). Genetic Variability of the Monkeypox Virus Clade IIb B.1. Journal of Medical Medication. doi:

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