On the rate of molecular evolution

  title={On the rate of molecular evolution},
  author={Motoo Kimura and Tomoko Ohta},
  journal={Journal of Molecular Evolution},
SummaryThere are at least two outstanding features that characterize the rate of evolution at the molecular level as compared with that at the phenotypic level. They are; (1) remarkable uniformity for each molecule, and (2) very high overall rate when extrapolated to the whole DNA content.The population dynamics for the rate of mutant substitution was developed, and it was shown that if mutant substitutions in the population are carried out mainly by natural selection, the rate of substitution… 

The Rate of Molecular Evolution When Mutation May Not Be Weak

This work presents a direct and transparent theoretical analysis of the Wright-Fisher model of population genetics, which shows that some of the most important rules of molecular evolution are fundamentally changed by considering recurrent mutation’s full effect.

The Rate of Molecular Evolution When Mutation May Not Be Weak

A direct and transparent theoretical analysis of the Wright-Fisher model of population genetics shows that some of the most important rules of molecular evolution are fundamentally changed by considering recurrent mutation's full e↵ect.

Molecular evolutionary clock and the neutral theory

  • M. Kimura
  • Biology
    Journal of Molecular Evolution
  • 2005
It was pointed out that experimental studies should be done to settle the issue of whether the mutation rate for nucleotide change is more constant per year or per generation among organisms whose generation spans are very different.

A generation time effect on the rate of molecular evolution in invertebrates.

Significant evidence is found that rates of molecular evolution are correlated with generation time in invertebrates and that this effect applies consistently across genes and taxonomic groups.

Evolutionary processes and evolutionary noise at the molecular level

It is proposed that evolutionarily significant substitutions may be identified by monitoring changes in functional density and weighted functional density, and it is shown that a certain category of changes in the internal environment of the organism can be integrated into the constantenvironment model for selection.

Solutions to the Cost-of-Selection Dilemma ( substitutional load / gene substitution / evolutionary rate )

In the attempt to study the cost-of-selection dilemma broadly and systematically, it is found necessary to amplify Haldane's original model, and to specify some assumptions which were only implicit in the original papers.

Epistasis Increases the Rate of Conditionally Neutral Substitution in an Adapting Population

Simulated, asexual populations of RNA molecules are studied and it is observed that conditionally neutral mutations—i.e., mutations that do not alter the fitness of the individual in which they arise, but that may alter the Fitness effects of subsequent mutations—substitute much more often than expected while a population is adapting.

Accumulation pattern of amino acid substitutions in protein evolution

It is suggested that the NVS of cytochrome c has been almost constant even over the long period of bacterial evolution but that at least two different substitution rates are necessary to describe the accumulated changes in the sequence.

Weak Selection and Protein Evolution

The motivation for the nearly neutral theory is reviewed, the structure of the model and its predictions are discussed, and current empirical support for interactions among weak evolutionary forces in protein evolution is evaluated.

Rates of Molecular Evolution of Primates

The conclusion is drawn that the total rate of mutation accumulation is determined by a number of interacting factors, the primary of these factors in most cases is generation time, which is closely associated with the number of germ cell divisions.



The rate of molecular evolution considered from the standpoint of population genetics.

  • M. Kimura
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1969
Random gene frequency drift is playing an important role in determining the genetic structure of biological populations and genes in "living fossils" may be expected to have undergone as many DNA base substitutions as corresponding genes (proteins) in more rapidly evolving species.

On the Biological Significance of the Cost of Gene Substitution

The cost of gene substitution can be defined as the reproductive excess necessary to prevent extinction when the population is at a low density, which makes it independent of the exact mode of population size regulation.

An improved method for determining codon variability in a gene and its application to the rate of fixation of mutations in evolution

It is found that for 29 species of cytochrome c the data fit the assumption that there is a group of approximately 32 invariant codons and that the remainder compose two Poisson-distributed groups of size 65 and 16 codons, the latter smaller group fixing mutations at about 3.2 times the rate of the larger.

The number of heterozygous nucleotide sites maintained in a finite population due to steady flux of mutations.

The number of heterozygous sites per individual and some related quantities that represent the statistical properties of the mutant frequency distribution are investigated, assuming that a very large number of independent sites are available for mutation.

Evolution in Sexual and Asexual Populations

The evolution of diploidy from haploidy confers an immediate reduction in the mutation load by concealment of deleterious recessives, but this advantage is lost once a new equilibrium is reached and the development of diPloidy may be because of an immediate advantage rather than because of any permanent benefit.

The substitutional load in a finite population1

Kimura (1960) developed his theory of the optimum mutation rate, where the term "substitutional load" represents the genotypic selection intensity, and the theory was reexamined and also the effect of slowly changing environment on the substitutional load was investigated.


  • J. Haldane
  • Biology
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 1949
The best known recent work on rates of evolution is probably that of Simpson (1944), though Small's (1945, 1946) work on diatoms is more extensive. Small is concerned with the origin of species,

Natural selection and gene substitution.

A fundamental property of natural selection is that under its operation a more advantageous gene can gradually supplant less advantageous genes in a population without appreciably affecting the total

A Mathematical Theory of Natural and Artificial Selection, Part V: Selection and Mutation

This chapter considers initial conditions, when only a few of the new type exist as the result of a single mutation; and the course of events in a population where the new factor is present in such numbers as to be in no danger of extinction by mere bad luck.