Visualizing Coronavirus Phylogenies with Genome Mutation Analysis

In this post, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) responsible for the recent pandemic is analyzed. Several attributes about the presently recorded virus genomes are plotted and genetic mutations in the sequences are traced to identify probable phylogenies among the samples.

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Ancestry Determination via Genetic Variant Analysis


Sequencing of the human genome began in 1990 as part of the Human Genome Project. With the technology available at the time, the project was a substantial undertaking. The human genome contains two sets of 23 chromosomes each with roughly 3.2 billion base pairs. A number of institutions, in countries around the world, participated in the project. Thirteen years later the project was complete at a cost of roughly three billion US dollars. The result was the first reference human genome.

Rapid advances in the field of genomics have dramatically lowered the cost of genetic sequencing and have ushered in the age of the once fabled “$1000 genome.” Now, a growing list of companies offer whole genome sequencing for hundreds of dollars with turn around time measured in weeks. This technology enables introspection into the sequences of nucleobases that comprise DNA and thus the genes of anyone curious enough to take the plunge.

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