Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 212-217

First online:

Calibration of mitochondrial DNA evolution in geese

  • Gerald F. ShieldsAffiliated withDepartment of Biochemistry, University of California
  • , Allan C. WilsonAffiliated withDepartment of Biochemistry, University of California

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Mitochondrial DNA was purified from five American species of geese representing the generaAnser andBranta, which have fossil records. The results of electrophoretic comparisons of about 75 fragments per individual produced by 14 restriction enzymes imply that the mean extent of sequence divergence between species ofAnser andBranta is about 9%. Fossil evidence suggests that these two groups of geese had a common ancestor 4–5 million years ago. Thus, the mean rate of sequence divergence in goose mitochondiral DNA is not far from 2% per million years, the value in mammals.

Key words

Mitochondria DNA Fossils Evolutionary rates Birds Restriction patterns Avian phylogeny