One of the things that the pandemic has done to our world is that the scientific community has turned many of their efforts to understand and try to control it from several disciplines. This extraordinary worldwide collaboration, together with the modern information and communication technologies, efforts to share the data and modern machine learning and bioinformatics techniques have given us the ability to observe the evolution of the different strains of the virus in almost real time. Here we use genetic data on SARS-COV2 isolates to test results of evolutionary theories in real time. In particular we show the approximate adherence to Yule’s model of the evolution of the different strains and also show that the architecture of the phylogenetic trees representing the families of strains is neither completely balanced, nor completely imbalanced, as seen in earlier studies. We also find that the variants of concern have shown a higher diversification in the RBD domain, which is responsible for binding with human cells, and thus a determinant for the infectiousness of the strain.
Rapid evolution of SARS-CoV-2 challenges human defenses
CM Duarte, DI Ketcheson, VM Eguíluz, S Agustí, J Fernández-Gracia, ...
Scientific reports 12 (1), 1-8