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Pleistocene Speciation and the Mitochondrial DNA Clock

Summary: Pleistocene Speciation and the
Mitochondrial DNA Clock
John Klicka and Robert M. Zink (1) used
pairwise mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) dis-
tance data and a 2% per million year (My)
"mtDNA clock" to examine whether Late
Pleistocene ( 250,000 years ago) glaciations
may have been an important mechanism of
speciation in North American songbirds.
They conclude that sequence divergence val-
ues and corresponding estimates of times of
evolutionary divergence between presump-
tive sister pairs of North American songbirds
were sufficiently large to reject a Late Pleis-
tocene Origins model (LPO model, 2) for
most species. Furthermore, they conclude
that the majority of North America's "young-
est" species of songbirds originated in the
Late Pliocene or Early Pleistocene, which
would suggest that Pleistocene glaciation, in


Source: Arbogast, Brian - Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Carolina at Wilmington


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology