Molecular Evolution Activities

This is a comprehensive bibliography (under construction) of primary and secondary sources on the neutral theory of molecular evolution. It currently covers the period 1973-2001.

Author :

Weinreich, D. M.

Year :


Title :

The rates of molecular evolution in rodent and primate mitochondrial DNA

Journal :

Journal of Molecular Evolution

Volume :


Issue :


Pages :


Date :


Short Title :

The rates of molecular evolution in rodent and primate mitochondrial DNA

Alternate Journal :

J. Mol. Evol.

Custom 2 :


Abstract :

A higher rate of molecular evolution in rodents than in primates at synonymous sites and, to a lesser extent, at amino acid replacement sites has been reported previously for most nuclear genes examined. Thus in these genes the average ratio of amino acid replacement to synonymous substitution rates in rodents is lower than in primates, an observation at odds with the neutral model of molecular evolution. Under Ohta's mildly deleterious model of molecular evolution, these observations are seen as the consequence of the combined effects of a shorter generation time (driving a higher mutation rate) and a larger effective population size (resulting in more effective selection against mildly deleterious mutations) in rodents. The present study reports the results of a maximum-likelihood analysis of the ratio of amino acid replacements to synonymous substitutions for genes encoded in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in these two lineages. A similar pattern is observed: in rodents this ratio is significantly lower than in primates, again consistent only with the mildly deleterious model. Interestingly the lineage-specific difference is much more pronounced in mtDNA-encoded than in nuclear-encoded proteins, an observation which is shown to run counter to expectation under Ohta's model. Finally, accepting certain fossil divergence dates, the lineage-specific difference in amino acid replacement-to-synonymous substitution ratio in mtDNA can be partitioned and is found to be entirely the consequence of a higher mutation rate in rodents. This conclusion is consistent with a replication-dependent model of mutation in mtDNA.

Notes :

Times Cited: 1 388JY J MOL EVOL
 -- contributed by John Beatty, March 29, 2002