Molecular Clocks

Michael Lee, Simon Ho

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    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).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)R399-R402
    Number of pages4
    JournalCurrent Biology
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2016


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