In the 1960s, several groups of scientists, including Emile Zuckerkandl and Linus Pauling, had noted that proteins experience amino acid replacements at a surprisingly consistent rate across very different species. This presumed single, uniform rate of genetic evolution was subsequently described using the term 'molecular clock'. Biologists quickly realised that such a universal pacemaker could be used as a yardstick for measuring the timescale of evolutionary divergences: estimating the rate of amino acid exchanges per unit of time and applying it to protein differences across a range of organisms would allow deduction of the divergence times of their respective lineages (Figure 1).
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - 23 May 2016|