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We report a new transformation, the LogDet, that is consistent for sequences with differing nucleotide composition and that have arisen under simple but asymmetric stochastic models of evolution. This transformation is required because existing methods tend to group sequences on the basis of their nucleotide composition, irrespective of their evolutionary(More)
Chloroplasts were once free-living cyanobacteria that became endosymbionts, but the genomes of contemporary plastids encode only approximately 5-10% as many genes as those of their free-living cousins, indicating that many genes were either lost from plastids or transferred to the nucleus during the course of plant evolution. Previous estimates have(More)
Morphological and molecular data are currently contradictory over the position of monotremes with respect to marsupial and placental mammals. As part of a re-evaluation of both forms of data we examine complete mitochondrial genomes in more detail. There is a particularly large discrepancy in the frequencies of thymine and cytosine (T-C) between(More)
Phylogenetic inference from sequences can be misled by both sampling (stochastic) error and systematic error (nonhistorical signals where reality differs from our simplified models). A recent study of eight yeast species using 106 concatenated genes from complete genomes showed that even small internal edges of a tree received 100% bootstrap support. This(More)
We recently reported the positional cloning of a candidate gene for hereditary hemochromatosis called HFE. The gene product, a member of the major histocompatibility complex class I-like family, was found to have a mutation, Cys-282 --> Tyr (C282Y), in 85% of patient chromosomes. This mutation eliminates the ability of HFE to associate with(More)
We improve the taxon sampling for avian phylogeny by analyzing 7 new mitochondrial genomes (a toucan, woodpecker, osprey, forest falcon, American kestrel, heron, and a pelican). This improves inference of the avian tree, and it supports 3 major conclusions. The first is that some birds (including a parrot, a toucan, and an osprey) exhibit a complete(More)
In higher eukaryotes, introns are spliced out of protein-coding mRNAs by the spliceosome, a massive complex comprising five non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) and about 200 proteins. By comparing the differences between spliceosomal proteins from many basal eukaryotic lineages, it is possible to infer properties of the splicing system in the last common ancestor of(More)
We describe a sequential (step by step) Darwinian model for the evolution of life from the late stages of the RNA world through to the emergence of eukaryotes and prokaryotes. The starting point is our model, derived from current RNA activity, of the RNA world just prior to the advent of genetically-encoded protein synthesis. By focusing on the function of(More)
Testing models of macroevolution, and especially the sufficiency of microevolutionary processes, requires good collaboration between molecular biologists and paleontologists. We report such a test for events around the Late Cretaceous by describing the earliest penguin fossils, analyzing complete mitochondrial genomes from an albatross, a petrel, and a(More)
Intron density in eukaryote genomes varies by more than three orders of magnitude, so there must have been extensive intron gain and/or intron loss during evolution. A favored and partial explanation for this range of intron densities has been that introns have accumulated stochastically in large eukaryote genomes during their evolution from an intron-poor(More)