On the Origins of the 2019-nCoV Virus, Wuhan, China

RECOMBINATION technology has been in use in molecular virology since the 1980’s. The structure of the 2019-NCoV virus genome provides a very strong clue on the likely origin of the virus.

Unlike other related coronaviruses, the 2019-nCoV virus has a unique sequence about 1,378 bp (nucleotide base pairs) long that is not found in related coronaviruses.

Looking at the phylogenetic tree recently published derived using all the full genome sequence, we see the 2019-nCoV virus does not have clear monophyletic support given the bootstrap value of 75 (Fig 1).

Close-up on Bootstrap value of 75 for available 2019-nCoV from Lu et al., 2020 The Lancet article [Full Text]

There is no doubt that there is a novel sequence in 2019-nCoV; we confirmed this via sequence alignment. Here’s the DOT plot: