On the rate of DNA sequence evolution in Drosophila

J Mol Evol. 1989 May;28(5):398-402. doi: 10.1007/BF02603075.


Analysis of the rate of nucleotide substitution at silent sites in Drosophila genes reveals three main points. First, the silent rate varies (by a factor of two) among nuclear genes; it is inversely related to the degree of codon usage bias, and so selection among synonymous codons appears to constrain the rate of silent substitution in some genes. Second, mitochondrial genes may have evolved only as fast as nuclear genes with weak codon usage bias (and two times faster than nuclear genes with high codon usage bias); this is quite different from the situation in mammals where mitochondrial genes evolve approximately 5-10 times faster than nuclear genes. Third, the absolute rate of substitution at silent sites in nuclear genes in Drosophila is about three times higher than the average silent rate in mammals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence*
  • Codon
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Genes
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Phylogeny*
  • Species Specificity
  • Time Factors


  • Codon
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • DNA