The Evolution And Molecular Epidemiology Of Single-Stranded DNA and RNA Viral Pathogens Of Humans Other Animals And Plants.

My research interests primarily focuses on the evolution and molecular epidemiology of single-stranded DNA and RNA viral pathogens of humans other animals and plants. I seek to computationally determine using full genomic sequences the evolutionary underpinnings of the emergence and spread of the numerous viral diseases that seriously threaten the health and food security of Africa and the rest of the developing world.

Unravelling the complicated evolutionary and dissemination history of HIV-1M subtype A lineages

Marcel Tongo Gordon W Harkins Jeffrey R Dorfman Erik Billings Sodsai Tovanabutra Tulio de Oliveira Darren P Martin

Virus Evolution, Volume 4, Issue 1, 1 January 2018, vey003,

Published: 19 February 2018

In this article we use a comprehensive set of published near full-length subtype A sequences and A-derived genome fragments from both circulating and unique recombinant forms to obtain some insights into how frequently these lineages have independently seeded HIV-1M sub-epidemics in different parts of the world.

We accomplished this by inferring when and where the major subtype A lineages and subtype A-derived CRFs originated. Following its origin in the Congo Brazzaville during the 1940s, we track the diversification and recombination history of subtype A sequences before and during its dissemination throughout much of the world between the 1950s and 1970s. Our results suggest that ancestral HIV-1 subtype A viruses may have been genetically predisposed to become major components of the present epidemic.

Fungiwe Mpithi