Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 86–93

A new method for calculating evolutionary substitution rates

  • Cecilia Lanave
  • Giuliano Preparata
  • Cecilia Sacone
  • Gabriella Serio

DOI: 10.1007/BF02101990

Cite this article as:
Lanave, C., Preparata, G., Sacone, C. et al. J Mol Evol (1984) 20: 86. doi:10.1007/BF02101990


In this paper we present a new method for analysing molecular evolution in homologous genes based on a general stationary Markov process. The elaborate statistical analysis necessary to apply the method effectively has been performed using Monte Carlo technqiues. We have applied our method to the silent third position of the codon of the five mitochondrial genes coding for identified proteins of four mammalian species (rat, mouse, cow and man). We found that the method applies satisfactorily to the three former species, while the last appears to be outside the scope of the present approach. The method allows one to calculate the evolutionarily effective silent substitution rate (vs) for mitochondrial genes, which in the species mentioned above is 1.4×10−8 nucleotide substitutions per site per year. We have also determined the divergence time ratios between the couples mousecow/rat-mouse and rat-cow/rat-mouse. In both cases this value is approximately 1.4.

Key words

Silent substitutionMolecular evolutionEvolution of mitochondrial DNAStochastic markov chainMonte Carlo simulation

Abbreviations used








million years



Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecilia Lanave
    • 1
  • Giuliano Preparata
    • 2
  • Cecilia Sacone
    • 1
  • Gabriella Serio
    • 3
  1. 1.Centro CNR Mitocondri e Metabolismo EnergeticoIstituto di Chimica Biologica, UniversitáBariItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Fisica, UniversitàBariItaly
  3. 3.Diaprtimento di Matematica, UniversitàBariItaly