Supplementary material from "Emergence and radiation of distemper viruses in terrestrial and marine mammals"

Posted on 20.10.2021 - 10:39
Canine distemper virus (CDV) and phocine distemper virus (PDV) are major pathogens to terrestrial and marine mammals. Yet little is known about the timing and geographical origin of distemper viruses and to what extent it was influenced by environmental change and human activities. To address this, we (i) performed the first comprehensive time-calibrated phylogenetic analysis of the two distemper viruses, (ii) mapped distemper antibody and virus detection data from marine mammals collected between 1972 and 2018 and, (iii) compiled historical reports on distemper dating back to the eighteenth century. We find that CDV and PDV diverged in the early seventeenth century. Modern CDV strains last shared a common ancestor in the nineteenth century with a marked radiation during the 1930s–1950s. Modern PDV strains are of more recent origin, diverging in the 1970s–1980s. Based on the compiled information on distemper distribution, the diverse host range of CDV and basal phylogenetic placement of terrestrial morbilliviruses, we hypothesize a terrestrial CDV-like ancestor giving rise to PDV in the North Atlantic. Moreover, given the estimated timing of distemper origin and radiation, we hypothesize a prominent role of environmental change such as the Little Ice Age, and human activities like globalization and war in distemper virus evolution.


Stokholm, Iben; Puryear, Wendy; Sawatzki, Kaitlin; Knudsen, Steen Wilhelm; Terkelsen, Thilde; Becher, Paul; et al. (2021): Supplementary material from "Emergence and radiation of distemper viruses in terrestrial and marine mammals". The Royal Society. Collection.
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Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences


Iben Stokholm
Wendy Puryear
Kaitlin Sawatzki
Steen Wilhelm Knudsen
Thilde Terkelsen
Paul Becher
Ursula Siebert
Morten Tange Olsen
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