The Genome as an Evolutionary Timepiece
Simon Y. W. Ho*, Amanda X. Y. Chen, Luana S. F. Lins, David A. Duchêne and Nathan Lo
- Author Affiliations
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW, Australia
↵*Author for correspondence: Simon Ho, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia, +61 2 93518681, firstname.lastname@example.org
Received May 14, 2016 Revision received June 30, 2016 Revision received August 31, 2016 Accepted September 2, 2016.
The molecular clock is a valuable and widely used tool for estimating evolutionary rates and timescales in biological research. There has been considerable progress in the theory and practice of molecular clocks over the past five decades. Although the idea of a molecular clock was originally put forward in the context of protein evolution and advanced using various biochemical techniques, it is now primarily applied to analyses of DNA sequences. An interesting but very underappreciated aspect of molecular clocks is that they can be based on genetic data other than DNA or protein sequences. For example, evolutionary timescales can be estimated using microsatellites, protein folds, and even the extent of recombination. These genome features hold great potential for molecular dating, particularly in cases where nucleotide sequences might be uninformative or unreliable. Here we present an outline of the different genetic data types that have been used for molecular dating, and we describe the features that good molecular clocks should possess. We hope that our article inspires further work on the genome as an evolutionary timepiece.
molecular clock molecular dating evolutionary rate genomic data phylogenetic analysis
© The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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