Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 113–121 | Cite as

Mitochondrial DNA evolution in primates: Transition rate has been extremely low in the lemur

  • Masami Hasegawa
  • Hirohisa Kishino
  • Kenji Hayasaka
  • Satoshi Horai


Based on mitochondrial DNA (mt-DNA) sequence data from a wide range of primate species, branching order in the evolution of primates was inferred by the maximum likelihood method of Felsenstein without assuming rate constancy among lineages. Bootstrap probabilities for being the maximum likelihood tree topology among alternatives were estimated without performing a maximum likelihood estimation for each resampled data set. Variation in the evolutionary rate among lineages was examined for the maximum likelihood tree by a method developed by Kishino and Hasegawa. From these analyses it appears that the transition rate of mtDNA evolution in the lemur has been extremely low, only about 1/10 that in other primate lines, whereas the transversion rate does not differ significantly from that of other primates. Furthermore, the transition rate in catarrhines, except the gibbon, is higher than those in the tarsier and in platyrrhines, and the transition rate in the gibbon is lower than those in other catarrhines. Branching dates in primate evolution were estimated by a molecular clock analysis of mtDNA, taking into account the rate of variation among different lines, and the results were compared with those estimated from nuclear DNA. Under the most likely model, where the evolutionary rate of mtDNA has been unifrom within a great apes/human calde, human/chimpanzee clustering is preferred to the alternative branching orders among human, chimpanzee, and gorilla.

Key words

Molecular clock with variable rate Branching order Branching date Maximum likelihood AIC Bootstrap probability 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masami Hasegawa
    • 1
  • Hirohisa Kishino
    • 1
  • Kenji Hayasaka
    • 2
  • Satoshi Horai
    • 2
  1. 1.The Institute of Statistical MathematicsTokyoJapan
  2. 2.National Institute of GeneticsMishima, SizuokaJapan

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