Multiple lineages of monkeypox virus detected in the United States, 2021-2022

Science. 2022 Nov 4;378(6619):560-565. doi: 10.1126/science.add4153. Epub 2022 Oct 20.


Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease endemic in Central and West Africa. In May 2022, dozens of non-endemic countries reported hundreds of monkeypox cases, most with no epidemiological link to Africa. We identified two lineages of monkeypox virus (MPXV) among two 2021 and seven 2022 US monkeypox cases: the major 2022 outbreak variant called B.1 and a minor contemporaneously sampled variant called A.2. Analyses of mutations among these two variants revealed an extreme preference for GA-to-AA mutations indicative of human APOBEC3 cytosine deaminase activity among Clade IIb MPXV (previously West African, Nigeria) sampled since 2017. Such mutations were not enriched within other MPXV clades. These findings suggest that APOBEC3 editing may be a recurrent and a dominant driver of MPXV evolution within the current outbreak.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • APOBEC Deaminases* / metabolism
  • Adenosine / genetics
  • Cytidine / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Monkeypox virus* / genetics
  • Monkeypox virus* / isolation & purification
  • Mpox (monkeypox)* / enzymology
  • Mpox (monkeypox)* / virology
  • Mutation
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • RNA Editing*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • APOBEC3 proteins, human
  • APOBEC Deaminases
  • Adenosine
  • Cytidine