Viral diversity and clonal evolution from unphased genomic data

Khiabanian, Hossein; Carpenter, Zachary; Kugelman, Jeffrey; Chan, Joseph; Trifonov, Vladimir; Nagle, Elyse; Warren, Travis; Iversen, Patrick; Bavari, Sina; Palacios, Gustavo; Rabadan, Raul

Background: Clonal expansion is a process in which a single organism reproduces asexually, giving rise to a diversifying population. It is pervasive in nature, from within-host pathogen evolution to emergent infectious disease outbreaks. Standard phylogenetic tools rely on full-length genomes of individual pathogens or population consensus sequences (phased genotypes). Although high-throughput sequencing technologies are able to sample population diversity, the short sequence reads inherent to them preclude assessing whether two reads originate from the same clone (unphased genotypes). This obstacle severely limits the application of phylogenetic methods and investigation of within-host dynamics of acute infections using this rich data source. Methods: We introduce two measures of diversity to study the evolution of clonal populations using unphased genomic data, which eliminate the need to construct full-length genomes. Our method follows a maximum likelihood approach to estimate evolutionary rates and times to the most recent common ancestor, based on a relaxed molecular clock model; independent of a growth model. Deviations from neutral evolution indicate the presence of selection and bottleneck events. Results: We evaluated our methods in silico and then compared it against existing approaches with the well-characterized 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. We then applied our method to high-throughput genomic data from marburgvirus-infected non-human primates and inferred the time of infection and the intra-host evolutionary rate, and identified purifying selection in viral populations. Conclusions: Our method has the power to make use of minor variants present in less than 1% of the population and capture genomic diversification within days of infection, making it an ideal tool for the study of acute RNA viral infection dynamics.


  • thumnail for 1471-2164-15-S6-S17-S2.xls 1471-2164-15-S6-S17-S2.xls application/excel 253 KB Download File
  • thumnail for 1471-2164-15-S6-S17-S1.pdf 1471-2164-15-S6-S17-S1.pdf application/pdf 295 KB Download File

Also Published In

More About This Work

Academic Units
Biomedical Informatics
Published Here
October 17, 2014