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J Mol Evol. 1992 Nov;35(5):377-84.

The molecular clock ticks regularly in muroid rodents and hamsters.

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Center for Demographic and Population Genetics, University of Texas, Houston 77225.


Extensive DNA sequence data are used to compare the rates of nucleotide substitution in the mouse, rat, and hamster lineages. A relative rate test using hamster sequences as references shows that the rates of synonymous and nonsynonymous substitution in the mouse and rat lineages are nearly equal and a test using human sequences as references shows that the rates in the mouse, rat, and hamster lineages are also nearly equal. Under the assumptions that the guinea pig lineage and the myomorph (mouse, rat, and hamster) lineage diverged 70-100 million years (Myr) ago and that the rate of nucleotide substitution has been constant in all these lineages since their divergence, the date of the mouse-rat split is estimated to be between 20 and 29 Myr ago, which is considerably older than the date (approximately 12 Myr) suggested by available rodent fossils and considerably younger than the date (approximately 35 Myr) suggested by Wilson and colleagues. The murid-hamster split is estimated to be 1.6 times older than the mouse-rat split.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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