, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 110-113

Was globin evolution very rapid in its early stages?: A dubious case against the rate-constancy hypothesis

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Goodman et al's (1975) claim of accelerated evolution in the early stages of globin evolution is based on an erroneous assignment of the time of divergence of vertebrate myoglobin and hemoglobin. When this is corrected, there is no basis for their claim. The data are much more consistent with the nearly constant rate expected on the neutral mutation-random drift hypothesis than with the uneven rates expected if most amino acid changes were caused by substitution of favorable mutants through Darwinian selection. In addition, the majority of the codons determined by their maximum parsimony method have turned out to be wrong when compared to the actual nucleotide sequences of rabbitα and humanβ hemoglobins determined by direct sequencing.

Contribution No. 1314 from the National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, 411 Japan.