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The rate of DNA evolution: Effects of body size and temperature on the molecular clock

Summary: The rate of DNA evolution: Effects of body size and
temperature on the molecular clock
James F. Gillooly*
, Andrew P. Allen*, Geoffrey B. West§
, and James H. Brown*
*Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131; Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501; and
§Theoretical Physics Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, MS B285, Los Alamos, NM 87545
Communicated by Murray Gell-Mann, Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM, November 9, 2004 (received for review March 26, 2004)
Observations that rates of molecular evolution vary widely within
and among lineages have cast doubts on the existence of a single
``molecular clock.'' Differences in the timing of evolutionary events
estimated from genetic and fossil evidence have raised further
questions about the accuracy of molecular clocks. Here, we present
a model of nucleotide substitution that combines theory on met-
abolic rate with the now-classic neutral theory of molecular evo-
lution. The model quantitatively predicts rate heterogeneity and
may reconcile differences in molecular- and fossil-estimated dates
of evolutionary events. Model predictions are supported by ex-
tensive data from mitochondrial and nuclear genomes. By account-
ing for the effects of body size and temperature on metabolic rate,


Source: Allen, Andrew P. - National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California at Santa Barbara


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology