Measles virus and rinderpest virus divergence dated to the sixth century BCE

Ariane Düx, Sebastian Lequime, Livia Victoria Patrono, Bram Vrancken, Sengül Boral, Jan F Gogarten, Antonia Hilbig, David Horst, Kevin Merkel, Baptiste Prepoint, Sabine Santibanez, Jasmin Schlotterbeck, Marc A Suchard, Markus Ulrich, Navena Widulin, Annette Mankertz, Fabian H Leendertz, Kyle Harper, Thomas Schnalke, Philippe LemeySébastien Calvignac-Spencer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many infectious diseases are thought to have emerged in humans after the Neolithic revolution. Although it is broadly accepted that this also applies to measles, the exact date of emergence for this disease is controversial. We sequenced the genome of a 1912 measles virus and used selection-aware molecular clock modeling to determine the divergence date of measles virus and rinderpest virus. This divergence date represents the earliest possible date for the establishment of measles in human populations. Our analyses show that the measles virus potentially arose as early as the sixth century BCE, possibly coinciding with the rise of large cities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1367-1370
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume368
Issue number6497
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19-Jun-2020
Externally publishedYes

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