Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 212–217

Calibration of mitochondrial DNA evolution in geese

  • Gerald F. Shields
  • Allan C. Wilson

DOI: 10.1007/BF02111234

Cite this article as:
Shields, G.F. & Wilson, A.C. J Mol Evol (1987) 24: 212. doi:10.1007/BF02111234


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

MitochondriaDNAFossilsEvolutionary ratesBirdsRestriction patternsAvian phylogeny



mitochondrial DNA


base pairs


million years

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald F. Shields
    • 1
  • Allan C. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Arctic BiologyUniversity of AlaskaFairbanksUSA