At the beginning of 2020, a few months after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, scientists have been able to sequence the entire genome of the virus that caused the infection, SARS-CoV-2, even though many of the virus’s genes are already known to the world. time. The complete set of genes encoding this protein has not yet been resolved.
After extensive comparative genome research, MIT researchers have now created the most accurate and complete genetic annotation of the SARS-CoV-2 genome. Today, in Nature Communications, they identified several genes that code for proteins, and discovered other genes that imply that genes do not code for proteins. The lead author of the study, Professor of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, Manolis Kellis, said: “We were able to use this powerful comparative genomics method to evolve features to reveal the true function of the protein-coding content of this extremely important genome.” Massachusetts Institute of Technology(CSAIL), and also a member of the extensive research institutes at MIT and Harvard University.
The research team also studied about 2,000 mutations in various isolates of SARS-CoV-2 since they first infected people, and allowed them to assess the importance of mutations in altering the ability of the virus. Avoid the immune system or become bigger. Contagious. The researchers also studied mutations in worrying variants, such as the B1.1.7 strain from the United Kingdom, the P.1 strain from Brazil, and the B1.351 strain from South Africa.
Many mutations that make these mutations more dangerous have been found in the spike protein. These mutations help the virus spread faster and bypass the immune system. However, each of these variants also carries different mutations. “Each of these variants has more than 20 different mutations, and it’s important to know which ones might do something and which ones don’t,” Jungreis said.
These results can help other scientists focus on the mutations that they think are most likely to have a significant impact on the infectivity of the virus. The researchers are at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The annotated gene set and its mutation classification are provided in the genome browser for other researchers who may want to use it.