“Both point mutations and recombination promote host shift for coronaviruses.”
The researchers pointed to frequent recombinations in the genetic material of SARSr-CoV – a progenitor to the deadly SARS-CoV outbreak of 2002 to 2003.
Then, the epidemic was linked to a coronavirus strain carried by bats, which are also a potential source of the ongoing epidemic.
The researchers, however, noted the coronavirus mutations need to be further observed before any conclusions are drawn.
They said: “Due to the limited sequence release and no functional changes given at present, adaptive evolution cannot be confirmed with these changes.