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Worker does not infer from mtDNA alone....

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJuly 4, 2006 9:18 AM


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Evolgen has a nice little post up on the problems with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in regards to using it to infer demographic history. This form of genomic information is useful in that it is relatively copious, being present in the hundreds of mitochondrion to be found within every cell. This is one reason that the early work on molecular clocks in the context of paleoanthropology used mtDNA, you needed a lot of raw material in the pre-PCR era. Remember mitochondrial Eve? Now that neat story is fallling apart as the reality that mtDNA is subject to a great deal of selection seems to be clear, and selection tends to distort the coalescent methodology which lay at the heart of these clock models. All this is a prelim for what I really want to highlight, John Hawks enormous review titled Selection, nuclear genetic variation, and mtDNA. I would say that John was a selectionist before selectionism was sexy...but well, if some of you know the history of evolutionary biology, that doesn't seem to work right....

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