Nels and Vincent explain a method to calculate the mutation rate of SARS-CoV-2, and the role of a single amino acid change in spike in enhancing fitness of the delta variant and enabling it to out-compete the alpha variant.
Carl Zimmer joins Nels to talk about science writing, science communication, viruses, and his new book, On Life’s Edge.
Nels and Vincent explain a new method for calculating the most recent common ancestor of SARS-CoV-2, which concludes that the ancestral virus was circulating in October/November 2019, before its first detection in China.
Nels and Vincent review evidence for recombinant SARS-CoV-2 genomes arising in the B.1.1.7 lineage within the United Kingdom.
Nels and Vincent review a preprint demonstrating that changes in the genomes of the SARS-CoV-2 variants B1.351 and P.1 allow the viruses to reproduce in mouse cells in culture and in laboratory mice.
Nels and Vincent review evidence that a single amino acid change in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein has driven adaptation to humans, followed by an update on the status of variants of concern.
Nels and Vincent wrap up 2020 with a discussion of novel variants of SARS-CoV-2 that have emerged in the United Kingdom and South Africa, how to interpret the rapidly emerging genome sequence data and what to look for in the coming weeks as these variants spread across the globe.
Daniel joins Nels and Vincent to discuss his new book on army ants, the wickedest insects ever to roam the planet, and his research on them and clonal raider ants.
On the fifth anniversary of TWiEVO, Nels and Vincent invite 11 evolutionary biologists to describe exciting future directions for the field and their laboratory in the next five years.
Nels and Vincent answer listener questions and discuss a newly discovered virus of amoeba with a nearly complete ORFan genome: none of the proteins encoded in the viral genome look like any other proteins.