Phylogeography Reveals Association between Swine Trade and the Spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus in China and across the World

Mol Biol Evol. 2022 Feb 3;39(2):msab364. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msab364.


The ongoing SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome)-CoV (coronavirus)-2 pandemic has exposed major gaps in our knowledge on the origin, ecology, evolution, and spread of animal coronaviruses. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) is a member of the genus Alphacoronavirus in the family Coronaviridae that may have originated from bats and leads to significant hazards and widespread epidemics in the swine population. The role of local and global trade of live swine and swine-related products in disseminating PEDV remains unclear, especially in developing countries with complex swine production systems. Here, we undertake an in-depth phylogeographic analysis of PEDV sequence data (including 247 newly sequenced samples) and employ an extension of this inference framework that enables formally testing the contribution of a range of predictor variables to the geographic spread of PEDV. Within China, the provinces of Guangdong and Henan were identified as primary hubs for the spread of PEDV, for which we estimate live swine trade to play a very important role. On a global scale, the United States and China maintain the highest number of PEDV lineages. We estimate that, after an initial introduction out of China, the United States acted as an important source of PEDV introductions into Japan, Korea, China, and Mexico. Live swine trade also explains the dispersal of PEDV on a global scale. Given the increasingly global trade of live swine, our findings have important implications for designing prevention and containment measures to combat a wide range of livestock coronaviruses.

Keywords: BEAST; Bayesian inference; Coronaviridae; generalized linear model; phylogeography; porcine epidemic diarrhea virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • China
  • Coronavirus*
  • Pandemics
  • Phylogeny
  • Phylogeography
  • Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus* / genetics
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases* / epidemiology
  • United States