This review considers the history and the current state of the debatable issue of variation in accumulation rates of mutational substitutions in the phylogeny of humans and other primates. Arguments pro and contra the hypothesis on gradually decreasing tempo of molecular evolution of humans and apes are discussed. It is shown that data on proteins and (nuclear and mitochondrial) DNA confirm this hypothesis. The conclusion is drawn that the total rate of mutation accumulation is determined by a number of interacting factors. The primary of these factors in most cases (including that of hominids) is generation time, which is closely associated with the number of germ cell divisions. At the same time, fixation rates of nonsynonymous substitutions are also affected by various forms of selection.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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