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The accurate and complete gene annotation map of COVID-19 is completed
The accurate and complete gene annotation map of COVID-19 is completed. Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote in the journal Nature Communications on the 11th that after conducting extensive comparative genomics research, they mapped out the most accurate and complete gene annotation map of the new coronavirus to date, and confirmed several A protein-coding gene, some genes have also been found that do not code for any protein.
In addition, they also analyzed nearly 2,000 mutations produced by different strains of the new coronavirus, so as to better assess the importance of these mutations.
The genome of the new coronavirus is composed of nearly 30,000 RNA bases. Scientists have previously identified some genes that can encode proteins based on the similarity with protein-coding genes in related viruses. They believe that there are other genes that encode proteins, but they are not clearly classified as protein-coding genes.
In order to determine these protein-coding genes, the experimental team led by Professor Manolis Chris of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory used the computational technology developed by itself to analyze the COVID-19 virus, the SARS virus and 42 strains of the bat Sabe virus subgenus. Analyzed. The basic principle of this technology is to analyze whether certain DNA or RNA bases are preserved between species and to compare how they have evolved over time. They have previously used this technology to compare the human genome with the genomes of other mammals.
The results showed that in addition to the discovery of 5 genes previously found in other coronaviruses, Chris’ team also confirmed 6 protein-coding genes in the new coronavirus genome, while the other 5 genes believed to code for proteins did not have this ability. . They said that after analyzing the entire genome, they are very sure that no other protein-coding genes have become “missing fish.” They plan to continue experimental research to find out the function of these uncharacterized genes.
In addition, Chris’ team also analyzed more than 1,800 mutations that have appeared since the new coronavirus was first discovered, and compared the evolution speed of each gene in the past and the evolution speed since the outbreak. The results showed that, in most cases, genes that evolved rapidly for a long time before the outbreak continued to evolve rapidly, and genes that evolved slowly maintained their own rhythm. However, there are exceptions, which may help reveal how viruses have evolved as they adapt to new human hosts.
The researchers also analyzed the mutations in several variants of the new coronavirus-B.1.1.7, P.1 and B.1.351. It turns out that many mutations that make these mutations more dangerous are present in the spike protein, which helps the virus spread faster and avoid the immune system. They pointed out that each mutant strain has more than 20 unique mutations. Knowing which may be useful and which is not useful is very important to help scientists focus on the mutations most likely to have a significant impact on the infectivity of the virus.
What is a virus? What is so special about the new coronavirus?
As early as 1977, biologists told us that a virus is “just a piece of genetic information wrapped in a protein.”
The virus must be infected into living cells to replicate and spread. Therefore, when the new coronavirus finds a suitable cell, it will also inject an RNA strand that contains the entire genome.
Scientists’ analysis of its genetic map provides a way to understand the new coronavirus protein. But among them, some proteins have unknown functions, and some proteins may be useless.
The results of this research are to improve people’s cognition, which is conducive to the improvement of diagnostic technology and the development of new therapeutic drugs.
At the same time, it also allows us to infer this. More features in the epidemic, real-time tracking of its spread and mutation.
(source:internet, reference only)