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Diverse variola virus (smallpox) strains were widespread in northern Europe in the Viking Age

Mühlemann, Barbara ; Vinner, Lasse ; Margaryan, Ashot ; Wilhelmson, Helene LU ; de la Fuente Castro, Constanza ; Allentoft, Morten E. ; de Barros Damgaard, Peter ; Hansen, Anders Johannes ; Holtsmark Nielsen, Sofie and Strand, Lisa Mariann , et al. (2020) In Science (New York, N.Y.) 369(6502).
Abstract

Smallpox, one of the most devastating human diseases, killed between 300 million and 500 million people in the 20th century alone. We recovered viral sequences from 13 northern European individuals, including 11 dated to ~600-1050 CE, overlapping the Viking Age, and reconstructed near-complete variola virus genomes for four of them. The samples predate the earliest confirmed smallpox cases by ~1000 years, and the sequences reveal a now-extinct sister clade of the modern variola viruses that were in circulation before the eradication of smallpox. We date the most recent common ancestor of variola virus to ~1700 years ago. Distinct patterns of gene inactivation in the four near-complete sequences show that different evolutionary paths of... (More)

Smallpox, one of the most devastating human diseases, killed between 300 million and 500 million people in the 20th century alone. We recovered viral sequences from 13 northern European individuals, including 11 dated to ~600-1050 CE, overlapping the Viking Age, and reconstructed near-complete variola virus genomes for four of them. The samples predate the earliest confirmed smallpox cases by ~1000 years, and the sequences reveal a now-extinct sister clade of the modern variola viruses that were in circulation before the eradication of smallpox. We date the most recent common ancestor of variola virus to ~1700 years ago. Distinct patterns of gene inactivation in the four near-complete sequences show that different evolutionary paths of genotypic host adaptation resulted in variola viruses that circulated widely among humans.

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organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Science (New York, N.Y.)
volume
369
issue
6502
article number
eaaw8977
publisher
American Association for the Advancement of Science
external identifiers
  • scopus:85088534583
  • pmid:32703849
ISSN
1095-9203
DOI
10.1126/science.aaw8977
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3b092008-1b5a-44c9-a943-e0f72ed79464
date added to LUP
2020-08-04 10:55:23
date last changed
2021-02-17 06:48:28
@article{3b092008-1b5a-44c9-a943-e0f72ed79464,
  abstract     = {<p>Smallpox, one of the most devastating human diseases, killed between 300 million and 500 million people in the 20th century alone. We recovered viral sequences from 13 northern European individuals, including 11 dated to ~600-1050 CE, overlapping the Viking Age, and reconstructed near-complete variola virus genomes for four of them. The samples predate the earliest confirmed smallpox cases by ~1000 years, and the sequences reveal a now-extinct sister clade of the modern variola viruses that were in circulation before the eradication of smallpox. We date the most recent common ancestor of variola virus to ~1700 years ago. Distinct patterns of gene inactivation in the four near-complete sequences show that different evolutionary paths of genotypic host adaptation resulted in variola viruses that circulated widely among humans.</p>},
  author       = {Mühlemann, Barbara and Vinner, Lasse and Margaryan, Ashot and Wilhelmson, Helene and de la Fuente Castro, Constanza and Allentoft, Morten E. and de Barros Damgaard, Peter and Hansen, Anders Johannes and Holtsmark Nielsen, Sofie and Strand, Lisa Mariann and Bill, Jan and Buzhilova, Alexandra and Pushkina, Tamara and Falys, Ceri and Khartanovich, Valeri and Moiseyev, Vyacheslav and Jørkov, Marie Louise Schjellerup and Østergaard Sørensen, Palle and Magnusson, Yvonne and Gustin, Ingrid and Schroeder, Hannes and Sutter, Gerd and Smith, Geoffrey L. and Drosten, Christian and Fouchier, Ron A.M. and Smith, Derek J. and Willerslev, Eske and Jones, Terry C. and Sikora, Martin},
  issn         = {1095-9203},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6502},
  publisher    = {American Association for the Advancement of Science},
  series       = {Science (New York, N.Y.)},
  title        = {Diverse variola virus (smallpox) strains were widespread in northern Europe in the Viking Age},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaw8977},
  doi          = {10.1126/science.aaw8977},
  volume       = {369},
  year         = {2020},
}