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Phylodynamic analysis of the historical spread of Toscana virus around the Mediterranean

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal article

  • Maria Grazia Cusi
  • Claudia Gandolfo
  • Gianni Gori Savellini
  • Chiara Terrosi
  • Rebecca Sadler
  • Derek Gatherer
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/07/2018
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


All available sequences of the three genome segments of Toscana virus with date and location of sampling were analysed using Bayesian phylodynamic methods. We estimate that extant Toscana virus strains had a common ancestor in the late 16th to early 17th century AD, in territories controlled by the Ottoman Empire, giving rise to an ancestral genotype A/B in north Africa and to genotype C in the Balkans. Subsequent spread into western Europe may have occurred during the period of European colonization of north Africa in the 19th and early 20th centuries AD, establishing genotypes A and B in Italy and Spain respectively. Very little positive evolutionary selection pressure is detectable in Toscana virus, suggesting that the virus has become well adapted to its human hosts. There is also no convincing evidence of reassortment between genome segments, despite genotypes A and B now co-circulating in several countries.