A family tree of the new coronavirus reveals it is mutating very slowly

Kiyoshi Takahase Segundo / Alamy

Like any other biological entity, SARS-CoV-2 has a family tree. It isn’t a very old one – the virus has only been recognised since December – but it still has tales to tell.

Most of what we know about this coronavirus comes from genetic analysis. The first complete SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence was read from a patient who worked at the Wuhan seafood market and was admitted to hospital on 26 December 2019. Known as Wuhan-Hu-1, it is a bit like the type specimen …

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