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Landscape of coronavirus recombination across scales

Researchers from Emory College and the School of Medicine received a seed grant of $150,000 to find genomic markers for recombination events of coronaviruses. The award is from the Emory basic science initiative From Molecules and Pathogens to Populations and Pandemics.

Viruses continually evolve through mutation and recombination (when coinfecting viruses exchange genetic information and create a new virus). This project aims to anticipate epidemiologically significant recombination events involving the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The researchers will use experimental, modeling and phylogenetic analysis approaches to quantitatively examine recombination of human coronaviruses at cellular and population-level scales. By integrating their findings across these scales, they aim to identify genomic signatures of recombination that are likely to be adaptive for this family of viruses.

The investigators include Anice Lowen, associate professor in the School of Medicine; Mehul Suthar, assistant professor in the School of Medicine; and Katia Koelle, associate professor of biology.