Molecular Evolution Activities


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1950 

H. J. Muller Introduces Genetic Load
H. J. Muller publishes "Our Load of Mutations" in which he introduces the concept of a genetic load and the dangers of genetic radiation damage.
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1962 

Freese and Sueoka Recognize Neutral Molecular Evolution
Freese and Sueoka propose neutral mutations to explain the difference between frequencies of amino acids and nucleotides.

E. Freese. 9162. On the evolution of basse composition of DNA. Journal of Theoretical Biology 3: 82-101.

N. Sueoka. 1962. On the genetic basis of variation and heterogeneity of DNA base composition. PNAS 48: 166-69.

From James Crow's Top Ten List of Significant Events in Molecular Evolution
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1963 

Macy Conference on Genetics
The Fifth Macy Conference on Genetics, held November 3- 6, 1963 at Princeton University, brought together several well-known geneticists of that time period to discuss important issues in population genetics. This conference took place just before the emergence of the field of molecular evolution. Attendees included: Walter Bodmer, James Crow, Everett Dempster, Theodosius Dobzhansky, L.C. Dunn, Barry Falconer, Dick Lewontin, Howard Levene, H.J. Muller, James Neel, Bruce Wallace, and Jack Schull, among others. The format of the conference was short individual presentations followed by an informal free-for-all discussion. Fortunately, a stenographer was present throughout the conference to preserve the interactions of these scientists. We have posted the entire transcript, dividing it up by sessions.
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1964 

Kimura and Crow formulate the Infinite Alleles Model
As part of the classical-balance controversy, Motoo Kimura and James Crow formulated the Infinite Alleles Model in their paper "The Number of Alleles that Can Be Maintained in a Finite Population," Genetics 49 (1964), 725- 738.
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1965 

Zuckerkandl and Pauling christen the Molecular Clock
Although Emile Zuckerkandl had articulated the idea of the molecular clock earlier, in their paper,"Evolutionary Divergence and Convergence in Proteins," for the 1965 Evolving Genes and Proteins Conference, Zuckerkandl and Linus Pauling coined the term "molecular clock."
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1966 

Hubby and Lewontin use electrophoresis to estimate genetic variation

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1968 

Kimura publishes his cost of selection argument for neutral molecular evolution
In his article "Evolutionary Rate at the Molecular Level," Motoo Kimura argued that the rate of substitution would create an intolerable cost of selection unless many of the substitutions were selectively neutral. This paper is traditionally considered one of the points of origin for the neutral theory of molecular evolution.
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1969 

King and Jukes argue for Non-Darwinian Evolution
In their article, "Non-Darwinian Evolution," Jack King and Thomas Jukes introduce a variety of biochemical evidence to make the case for neutral molecular evolution. With Kimura's 1968 paper, this paper marks the beginning of the neutralist/ selectionist controversy.
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1970 

Clarke and Richmond argue against Non-Darwinian Evolution
The Neutralist/ Selectionist controversy begins with systematic responses to Kimura 1968 and King and Jukes 1969 from Bryan Clarke and Rollin Richmond. Bryan Clarke, "Darwinian Evolution of Proteins," Science 168 (1970), 1009-1011. Rollin Richmond, "Non-Darwinian Evolution: A Critique," Nature 225 (1970), 1025-1028.
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1973 

Tomoko Ohta proposes the Nearly Neutral Theory
Ohta's paper "Slightly Delterious Mutant Substitutions in Evolution," Nature 246 (1973): 96-98 marks the beginning of the nearly neutral theory of molecular evolution.
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1974 

Problem of Uniform Heterozygosity Raised
Apparently Uniform Heterozygosity at the Protein Level was raised as a Problem of the Neutral Theory R. C. Lewontin, The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change. (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1974).

From Tomoko Ohta's Top Ten List of Significant Events in Molecular Evolution
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1981 

Rapid Evolution of Pseudogenes.
Rapid Evolution of Pseudogenes. T. Miyata and T. Yasunaga, "Rapidly evolving mouse alpha globin related pseudogene and its evolutionary history," PNAS 78 (1981), 450-453.

From Tomoko Ohta's List of Top Ten Significant Events in Molecular Evolution
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1988 

Detection of Positive Selection by Comparing Nonsynonymous and Synonymous Substitutions
A. L. Hughes and M. Nei, "Patter of nucleotide substitutions at major histocompatibility complex class I loci reveals overdominant selection," Nature 335 (1988), 167-170.

From Tomoko Ohta's Top Ten List of Significant Events in Molecular Evolution
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1991 

Comparative Study of Synonymous and Nonsynonymous Divergence Patterns
J. H. McDonald and M. Kreitman, "Adaptive protein evolution at the AHD locus in Drosophila," Nature 351 (1991), 652-654.

From Tomoko Ohta's Top Ten List of Significant Events in Molecular Evolution
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1996 

Rapid Evolution at Nonsynonymous Sites in Small Populations.
N. A. Moran, "Accelerated evolution and Muller's Ratchet in Endosymbiotic bacteria," PNAS 93 (1996), 2873-2878.

From Tomoko Ohta's Top Ten List of Significant Events in Molecular Evolution
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2000 

Sequence Turnover at a Regulatory Element.
M. Z. Ludwig, et al., "Evidence for stabilizing selection in a eukaryotic enhancer element," Nature 403 (2000), 564-567.

From Tomoko Ohta's Top Ten List of Significant Events in Molecular Evolution
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