Chikungunya virus adapts to tiger mosquito via evolutionary convergence: a sign of things to come?

Xavier de Lamballerie, Eric Leroy, Rémi N Charrel, Konstantin Ttsetsarkin, Stephen Higgs, Ernest A Gould
Virology Journal 2008, 5: 33
Since 2004, several million indigenous cases of Chikungunya virus disease occurred in Africa, the Indian Ocean, India, Asia and, recently, Europe. The virus, usually transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, has now repeatedly been associated with a new vector, Ae. Albopictus. Analysis of full-length viral sequences reveals three independent events of virus exposure to Ae. Albopictus, each followed by the acquisition of a single adaptive mutation providing selective advantage for transmission by this mosquito. This disconcerting and current unique example of "evolutionary convergence" occurring in nature illustrates rapid pathogen adaptation to ecological perturbation, driven directly as a consequence of human activities.

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