Watercolor coronavirus viruses in green, red, blue, and purple are layered above an abstract background of watercolor swashes
Plenty of Evidence for Recombination in SARS-CoV-2
Different variants of the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic are swapping chunks of genetic material, but it’s not yet clear what implications that may have for public health.
ABOVE: ISTOCK.COM, STELLALEVI
Plenty of Evidence for Recombination in SARS-CoV-2
Plenty of Evidence for Recombination in SARS-CoV-2

Different variants of the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic are swapping chunks of genetic material, but it’s not yet clear what implications that may have for public health.

Different variants of the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic are swapping chunks of genetic material, but it’s not yet clear what implications that may have for public health.

ABOVE: ISTOCK.COM, STELLALEVI
recombination
a veterinarian in a white hazmat suit holding a small pig
The Long Journey to Resolve the Origins of a Previous Pandemic
Martha Nelson | Sep 2, 2021
Dozens of researchers, including myself, worked for years to uncover that swine flu had leapt to humans from a pig in Mexico in 2009. We learned a lot about influenza evolution, pig farming, and outbreak risk along the way.
Five morphs of Poecilia parae—from top: melanzona yellow, melanzona blue, melanzona red, parae, immaculata—and a female (bottom) of the same species
Fish Species’ Y Chromosomes Diverged Even Without Recombination
Catherine Offord | Sep 1, 2021
Researchers discover surprisingly high levels of genetic diversity among the colorful male morphs of a freshwater fish.
“Social” Chromosome Discovered
Sabrina Richards | Jan 16, 2013
Researchers identify a chromosome in ants that influences colony social structure and, much like the mammalian Y sex chromosome, doesn’t recombine.
When Vaccines Turn Vicious
Ruth Williams | Jul 12, 2012
Weakened viruses used in vaccines can swap genes and produce disease-causing strains.
RNA-DNA Virus Hybrid Found
Sabrina Richards | Apr 20, 2012
Researchers discovered a virus produced from recombination between RNA and DNA viruses, suggesting a possible new mechanism of virus evolution.