The general stochastic model of nucleotide substitution

J Theor Biol. 1990 Feb 22;142(4):485-501. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5193(05)80104-3.


DNA sequence evolution through nucleotide substitution may be assimilated to a stationary Markov process. The fundamental equations of the general model, with 12 independent substitution parameters, are used to obtain a formula which corrects the effect of multiple and parallel substitutions on the measure of evolutionary divergence between two homologous sequences. We show that only reversible models, with six independent parameters, allow the calculation of the substitution rates. Simulation experiments on DNA sequence evolution through nucleotide substitution call into question the effectiveness of the general model (and of any other more detailed description); nevertheless, the general model results are slightly superior to any of its particular cases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence*
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Computer Simulation
  • DNA*
  • Markov Chains
  • Models, Biological


  • DNA