The genomic rate of adaptive evolution

Trends Ecol Evol. 2006 Oct;21(10):569-75. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2006.06.015. Epub 2006 Jul 3.


The role of positive darwinian selection in evolution at the molecular level has been keenly debated for many years, with little resolution. However, a recent increase in DNA sequence data and the development of new methods of analysis have finally made this question tractable. Here, I review the current state-of-play of the field. Initial estimates in Drosophila suggest that approximately 50% of all amino acid substitutions, and a substantial fraction of substitutions in non-coding DNA, have been fixed as a consequence of adaptive evolution. Estimates in microorganisms are even higher. By contrast, there is little evidence of widespread adaptive evolution in our own species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics*
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Time Factors