Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 133–149 | Cite as

Frequency of insertion-deletion, transversion, and transition in the evolution of 5S ribosomal RNA

  • David Sankoff
  • R. J. Cedergren
  • Guy Lapalme


The problem of choosing an alignment of two or more nucleotide sequences is particularly difficult for nucleic acids, such as 5S ribosomal RNA, which do not code for protein and for which secondary structure is unknown. Given a set of ‘costs’ for the various types of replacement mutations and for base insertion or deletion, we present a dynamic programming algorithm which finds the optimal (least costly) alignment for a set of N sequences simultaneously, where each sequence is associated with one of the N tips of a given evolutionary tree. Concurrently, protosequences are constructed corresponding to the ancestral nodes of the tree. A version of this algorithm, modified to be computationally feasible, is implemented to align the sequences of 5S RNA from nine organisms. Complete sets of alignments and proto-sequence reconstructions are done for a large number of different con-figurations of mutation costs. Examination of the family of curves of total replacements inferred versus the ratio of transitions/trans-versions inferred, each curve corresponding to a given number of in-sertions-deletions inferred, provides a method for estimating relative costs and relative frequencies for these different types of mutation.

Key words

5S rRNA Nucleotide Sequence Homology Evolution Mutation Frequencies 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Sankoff
    • 1
  • R. J. Cedergren
    • 2
  • Guy Lapalme
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre de recherches mathématiquesUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Département de biochimieUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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