Problem: Recent reconstructions of evolutionary history are often dependent on assigning divergence in terms of changes in amino acid or nucleotide sequences. For example, a comparison of cytochrome c shows 10 amino acid differences between humans and dogs, 24 differences between humans and moths, and 38 differences between humans and yeast. Such data provide no information as to the absolute times of divergence for humans, dogs, moths, and yeast. How might one calibrate the molecular clock to an absolute time clock? What problems might one encounter in such a calibration?

FREE Expert Solution

Amino acid differences: 

• 10 between humans and dogs

• 24 between humans and moths

• 38 between humans and yeast

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Problem Details

Recent reconstructions of evolutionary history are often dependent on assigning divergence in terms of changes in amino acid or nucleotide sequences. For example, a comparison of cytochrome c shows 10 amino acid differences between humans and dogs, 24 differences between humans and moths, and 38 differences between humans and yeast. Such data provide no information as to the absolute times of divergence for humans, dogs, moths, and yeast. How might one calibrate the molecular clock to an absolute time clock? What problems might one encounter in such a calibration?

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