Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date



Reassortment of the Rotavirus A (RVA) 11-segment dsRNA genome may generate new genome constellations that allow RVA to expand its host range or evade immune responses. Reassortment may also produce phylogenetic incongruities and weakly linked evolutionary histories across the 11 segments, obscuring reassortment-specific epistasis and changes in substitution rates. To determine the co-segregation patterns of RVA segments, we generated time-scaled phylogenetic trees for each of the 11 segments of 789 complete RVA genomes isolated from mammalian hosts and compared the segments’ geodesic distances. We found that segments 4 (VP4) and 9 (VP7) occupied significantly different tree spaces from each other and from the rest of the genome. By contrast, segments 10 and 11 (NSP4 and NSP5/6) occupied nearly indistinguishable tree spaces, suggesting strong co-segregation. Host-species barriers appeared to vary by segment, with segment 9 (VP7) presenting the weakest association with host species. Bayesian Skyride plots were generated for each segment to compare relative genetic diversity among segments over time. All segments showed a dramatic decrease in diversity around 2007 coinciding with the introduction of RVA vaccines. To assess selection pressures, codon adaptation indices and relative codon deoptimization indices were calculated with respect to different host genomes. Codon usage varied by segment with segment 11 (NSP5) exhibiting significantly higher adaptation to host genomes. Furthermore, RVA codon usage patterns appeared optimized for expression in humans and birds relative to the other hosts examined, suggesting that translational efficiency is not a barrier in RVA zoonosis.


Originally published as: Hoxie, Irene and John Dennehy. "Rotavirus A Genome Segments Show Distinct Segregation and Codon Usage Patterns." Viruses, vol. 13, 2021, 1460. doi: 10.3390/v13081460

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.