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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Aug 15, 1992; 89(16): 7844–7848.

Extensive variation in evolutionary rate of rbcL gene sequences among seed plants.


Extensive variation in synonymous and nonsynonymous rates of substitution was observed among 50 sequences of the gene coding for the large subunit of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase (rbcL) representing bryophyte, conifer, dicot, and monocot taxa. Relative rate tests revealed rate differences of up to 138% for nonsynonymous substitutions and up to 85% for synonymous ones. Within angiosperms, the annual forms evolved more rapidly, on average, than perennial forms. This rate heterogeneity was more extensive at nonsynonymous sites than synonymous ones, and it resulted primarily from a recent acceleration of substitution rate in many groups of angiosperms.

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