Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 208–211 | Cite as

Rates of synonymous substitution in plant nuclear genes

  • Kenneth H. Wolfe
  • Paul M. Sharp
  • Wen-Hsiung Li


The rate of synonymous nucleotide substitution in nuclear genes of higher plants has been estimated. The rate varies among genes by a factor of up to two, in a manner that is not immediately explicable in terms of base composition or codon usage bias. The average rate, in both monocots and dicots, is about four times higher than that in chloroplast genes. This leads to an estimated absolute silent substitution rate of 6 × 10−9 substitutions per site per year that falls within the range of average rates (2−8 × 10−9) seen in different mammalian nuclear genomes.

Key words

Plant molecular evolution Molecular clock Chloroplast DNA 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth H. Wolfe
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paul M. Sharp
    • 1
  • Wen-Hsiung Li
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsTrinity CollegeDublin 2Ireland
  2. 2.Center for Demographic and Population GeneticsUniversity of TexasHoustonUSA

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