Evolution of viral genomes: interplay between selection, recombination, and other forces.


RNA viruses evolve very rapidly, often recombine, and are subject to strong host (immune response) and anthropogenic (antiretroviral drugs) selective forces. Given their compact and extensively sequenced genomes, comparative analysis of RNA viral data can provide important insights into the molecular mechanisms of adaptation, pathogenicity, immune evasion, and drug resistance. In this chapter, we present an example-based overview of recent advances in evolutionary models and statistical approaches that enable screening viral alignments for evidence of adaptive change in the presence of recombination, detecting bursts of directional adaptive evolution associated with the phenotypic changes, and detecting of coevolving sites in viral genes.

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