Virus Disinfection and Population Genetics: Toward the Control of Waterborne Virus Diseases by Water Engineering

Syun suke Kadoya, Hiroyuki Katayama, Daisuke Sano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of Review: Major waterborne viruses comprise numerous variants rather than only a master sequence and form a genetically diverse population. High genetic diversity is advantageous for adaptation to environmental changes because the highly diverse population likely includes variants resistant to an adverse effect. Disinfection is a broadly employed tool to inactivate pathogens, but due to virus evolvability, waterborne viruses may not be inactivated sufficiently in currently applied disinfection conditions. Here, by focusing on virus population genetics, we explore possibility and factor of emergence of disinfection sensitivity change. Recent Findings: To test whether virus population obtains disinfection resistance, the evolutionary experiment developed in the field of population genetics has been applied, indicating the change in disinfection sensitivity. It has been also confirmed that the sensitivity of environmental strains is lower than that of laboratory strains. In some of these studies, genetic diversity within a population less sensitive to disinfection is higher. Researches in virus population genetics have shown the contribution of intra-population genetic diversity to virus population phenotype, so disinfection sensitivity change may attribute to the genetic diversity. Summary: The research elucidating a relationship between virus evolution and disinfection has only recently begun, but significant information about the relationship has been accumulated. To develop an effective disinfection strategy for the control of waterborne virus spread, we need to clarify whether disinfection practice truly affects virus outbreaks by refining both laboratory and field experiments related to virus evolution in the disinfection-exerted environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-416
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Pollution Reports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sep


  • Disinfection
  • Genetic diversity
  • Quasispecies
  • Virus evolution
  • Waterborne virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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