|Title||Variable molecular clocks in hominoids|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2006|
|Authors||Elango, N, Thomas, JW, Program, NISCCS, Yi, SV|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Keywords||2010-08-31, chimpanzees, chumans, divergence, generation\_time, mutation, substitution rate|
Generation time is an important determinant of a neutral molecular clock. There are several human-specific life history traits that led to a substantially longer generation time in humans than in other hominoids. Indeed, a long generation time is considered an important trait that distinguishes humans from their closest relatives. Therefore, humans may exhibit a significantly slower molecular clock as compared to other hominoids. To investigate this hypothesis, we performed a large-scale analysis of lineage-specific rates of single-nucleotide substitutions among hominoids. We found that humans indeed exhibit a significant slowdown of molecular evolution compared to chimpanzees and other hominoids. However, the amount of fixed differences between humans and chimpanzees appears extremely small, suggesting a very recent evolution of human-specific life history traits. Notably, chimpanzees also exhibit a slower rate of molecular evolution compared to gorillas and orangutans in the regions analyzed.
Variable molecular clocks in hominoids
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