I just read that the occurrence of identical L452 mutations in four different regions of the world "strongly suggests that the mutations weren't random, but rather a Darwinian adaptation" and I am NOT sure how I feel about that phrasing

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@Gemma Someone can and should correct me if I'm wrong, but mutations are random. They happen all the time.

The genome for SARS-CoV-2 is about 33,000 bases long – quite long for a virus. More bases = more opportunities for mutations during replication.

Darwinism comes into play when a mutation proves beneficial or detrimental to fitness. The L452 mutation changes the shape of the spike proteins, allowing the virus to evade the antibodies we developed in response to prior variants.

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@Gemma So given the enormous size of the virus's genome and the amount of time it can spend replicating in a person's cells (in some cases, up to several months), it's maybe not surprising that a mutation like this emerged.

It IS a little surprising that it's the exact same amino acid in all four variants, which is why scientists are suggesting this mutation warrants the designation SARS-CoV-3.

@Gemma Given the limited number of amino acids available, is it that surprising...?

@Delphine Sure. I suppose you're right. Need to learn more about this.

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