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Trends Ecol Evol. 2006 Oct;21(10):569-75. Epub 2006 Jul 3.

The genomic rate of adaptive evolution.

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National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, Durham, NC 27705, USA.


The role of positive darwinian selection in evolution at the molecular level has been keenly debated for many years, with little resolution. However, a recent increase in DNA sequence data and the development of new methods of analysis have finally made this question tractable. Here, I review the current state-of-play of the field. Initial estimates in Drosophila suggest that approximately 50% of all amino acid substitutions, and a substantial fraction of substitutions in non-coding DNA, have been fixed as a consequence of adaptive evolution. Estimates in microorganisms are even higher. By contrast, there is little evidence of widespread adaptive evolution in our own species.

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