Journal Article

Time Dependency of Molecular Evolutionary Rates? Yes and No

Sankar Subramanian and David M. Lambert

in Genome Biology and Evolution

Published on behalf of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 3, issue , pages 1324-1328
Published in print January 2011 |
Published online October 2011 | e-ISSN: 1759-6653 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evr108

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Some previous studies have suggested that rates of evolution inferred using molecular sequences vary substantially depending on the time frame over which they are measured, whereas a number of other studies have argued against this proposition. We examined this issue by separating positions of primate mitochondrial genomes that are under different levels of selection constraints. Our results revealed an order of magnitude variation in the evolutionary rates at constrained sites (including nonsynonymous sites, D-loop, and RNA) and virtually an identical rate of evolution at synonymous sites, independent of the timescales over which they were estimated. Although the evolutionary rate at nonsynonymous sites obtained using the European (H1 haplogroup) mitogenomes is 9–15 times higher than that estimated using the human–chimpanzee pair, in contrast, the rates at synonymous sites are similar between these comparisons. We also show that the ratio of divergence at nonsynonymous to synonymous sites estimated using intra- and interspecific comparisons vary up to nine times, which corroborates our results independent of calibration times.

Keywords: rates of evolution; natural selection; neutral evolution; time dependency; divergence times; population coalescent times

Journal Article.  2915 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology ; Evolutionary Biology ; Genetics and Genomics

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