A method for estimating the numbers of synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions per site

J Mol Evol. 1995 Dec;41(6):1152-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00173196.


A method for estimating the numbers of synonymous (Ks) and nonsynonymous (Ka) substitutions per site is proposed. The method is based on the Li's (J. Mol. Evol. 36:96-99, 1993) and Pamilo and Bianchi's (Mol. Biol. Evol. 10:271-281, 1993) method, but a putative source of bias is solved. It is proposed that the number of synonymous substitutions that are actually transitions or transversions should be computed by separating the twofold degenerate sites into two types of sites, 2S-fold and 2V-fold, where only transitional and transversional substitutions are synonymous, respectively. Kimura's (J. Mol. Evol. 16:111-120, 1980) two-parameter correcting method for multiple substitutions at a site is then applied using the overall observed synonymous transversion frequency to estimate both the numbers of synonymous transversional (Bs) and transitional (As) substitutions per site. This approach, therefore, also minimizes stochastic errors. Computer simulations indicate that the method presented gives more accurate Ks and Ka estimates than the aforementioned methods. Furthermore, the obtention of confidence intervals for divergence estimates by computer simulation is proposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*

Associated data

  • GENBANK/J02527
  • GENBANK/J04167
  • GENBANK/K02315
  • GENBANK/M12896
  • GENBANK/M14495
  • GENBANK/M14496
  • GENBANK/M14802
  • GENBANK/M17718
  • GENBANK/M21333
  • GENBANK/M29298
  • GENBANK/M29299
  • GENBANK/M30140
  • GENBANK/M55545
  • GENBANK/M55907
  • GENBANK/S59382
  • GENBANK/X00602
  • GENBANK/X00848
  • GENBANK/X02497
  • GENBANK/X03810
  • GENBANK/X03812
  • GENBANK/X06285
  • GENBANK/X07870
  • GENBANK/X16715
  • GENBANK/X53423
  • GENBANK/X54084
  • GENBANK/X55735
  • GENBANK/X60995
  • GENBANK/X62246
  • GENBANK/X65877
  • GENBANK/X65878