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. 2016 May 23;26(10):R399-402.
doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.03.071.

Molecular Clocks

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Molecular Clocks

Michael S Y Lee et al. Curr Biol. .

Abstract

In the 1960s, several groups of scientists, including Emile Zuckerkandl and Linus Pauling, had noted that proteins experience amino acid replacements at a surprisingly consistent rate across very different species. This presumed single, uniform rate of genetic evolution was subsequently described using the term 'molecular clock'. Biologists quickly realised that such a universal pacemaker could be used as a yardstick for measuring the timescale of evolutionary divergences: estimating the rate of amino acid exchanges per unit of time and applying it to protein differences across a range of organisms would allow deduction of the divergence times of their respective lineages (Figure 1).

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