Spanish researchers obtain first 100% genome sequence draft of monkeypox virus

Researchers at Spain’s Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII) have obtained the first 100% draft sequence of the monkeypox virus obtained from the genomic analysis of samples from 23 patients.

This massive sequencing breakthrough in the monkeypox virus confirms that it is the West African variety that caused the outbreak, as reported by Spain’s ISCIII.

The report continued stating:

“In addition, the sequencing has reached 100 per cent coverage of the 190,000 base pairs of the genome of this virus, which opens up the possibility of more advanced phylogenetic studies that will provide additional information on its behaviour and a better understanding of its origin, circulation and spread. This is one of the most complete sequences obtained to date.”

“The sequencing carried out by the ISCIII Arbovirus Laboratory, in conjunction with the Genomics and Bioinformatics units, has relied on the references published in recent days by other countries (Belgium, Germany, Portugal and the USA), and has been based on a new generation genomic technology mapped against reference genome, to which has been added a complementary analysis of the samples using a technique known as de novo assembly.”

“The raw sequences were completed last Monday night and the computational analysis has been performed in the last 36 hours.”

“The results indicate that the sequenced samples seem to belong to the same outbreak detected in other European countries, as the genomes obtained hardly differ from those already sequenced in other countries; in particular, the analysis performed at the ISCIII concludes that there are less than 5 SNPs – genetic sequences called single nucleotide changes – different from the sequencing carried out in Germany.”

“The sequencing confirms that the monkeypox virus in the outbreak in Spain is from the West African clade, which is the least virulent of the known clades and the one identified so far in most of the countries outside Africa involved in this outbreak.”

“Clades are phylogenetic groups that define the biological evolution of an organism, that explain how it acts and behaves, and in them the genetic differences of circulating viruses can be observed.”

“After obtaining the complete sequence of the virus, several teams of ISCIII researchers are carrying out phylogenetic analyses to determine the relationship between the Spanish samples and those from other countries.”

“The information obtained will be compared with those already known and deposited in international databases to assess the degree of identity and, where appropriate, the location of any differences that may exist between the Spanish sequence and other international data. ”

“All of this will make it possible to carry out traceability studies of the outbreak, as well as to potentially identify its origin.”


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Written by

Joshua Manning

Originally from the UK, Joshua is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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