Molecular Clock Calibration
Molecular clock calibration. The temporal information used to calibrate the molecular clock and estimate the molecular substitution rate.
The Molecular Clock
Establishing an evolutionary timeline for the tree of life (TOL) is essential for understanding the history of biodiversity. The incompleteness of the rock and fossil record means this cannot be achieved using paleontological evidence alone. The molecular clock provides the only viable means of obtaining precise estimates of evolutionary time. The mutations that arise along a gene sequence represent copy errors that accumulate randomly over time. The differences observed between the genes of two living species are therefore a function of the time since they last shared a common ancestor. If the age of the last common ancestor can be determined from the fossil record for a pair of living species, the clock can be calibratedand the...
KeywordsFossil Record Molecular Clock Tectonic Event Living Species Fossil Specimen
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