virus particles

Coronavirus family tree reveals the virus is hardly mutating

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 a seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and who was admitted to hospital on 26 December 2019 with symptoms of what turned out …