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J Mol Evol. 1998 Sep;47(3):249-57.

Accelerated evolution of cytochrome b in simian primates: adaptive evolution in concert with other mitochondrial proteins?

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Human Genetics Group, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia.


We have sequenced the cytochrome b gene of Horsfield's tarsier, Tarsius bancanus, to complete a data set of sequences for this gene from representatives of each primate infraorder. These primate cytochrome b sequences were combined with those from representatives of three other mammalian orders (cat, whale, and rat) in an analysis of relative evolutionary rates. The nonsynonymous nucleotide substitution rate of the cytochrome b gene has increased approximately twofold along lineages leading to simian primates compared to that of the tarsier and other primate and nonprimate mammalian species. However, the rate of transversional substitutions at fourfold degenerate sites has remained uniform among all lineages. This increase in the evolutionary rate of cytochrome b is similar in character and magnitude to that described previously for the cytochrome c oxidase subunit II gene. We propose that the evolutionary rate increase observed for cytochrome b and cytochrome c oxidase subunit II may underlie an episode of coadaptive evolution of these two proteins in the mitochondria of simian primates.

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