Drummond, Alexei James2; Pybus, Oliver George3; Rambaut, Andrew4; Forsberg, Rene5; Rodrigo, Allen Gerard6
1 Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 Department of Computer Science, Bioinformatics, University of Auckland,3 Department of Zoology, University of Oxford4 Institute of Evolutionary Biology; University of Edinburgh5 Geodynamics Dept. København universitet6 Department of Computer Science, University of Auckland
The availability of nucleotide and amino acid sequences sampled at different points in time has fostered the development of new statistical methods that exploit this temporal dimension. Such sequences enable us to observe evolution in action and to estimate the rate and magnitude of evolutionary processes through time. Populations for which such studies are possible � measurably evolving populations (MEPs) � are characterized by sufficiently long or numerous sampled sequences and a fast mutation rate relative to the available range of sequence sampling times. The impact of sequences sampled through time has been most apparent in the disciplines of RNA viral evolution and ancient DNA, where they enable us to estimate divergence times without paleontological calibrations, and to analyze temporal changes in population size, population structure and substitution rates. Thus, MEPs could increase our understanding of evolutionary processes in diverse organisms, from viruses to vertebrates.
Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 2003, Vol 18, Issue 9, p. 481-488
Population structure; Population number; Sampling; Biological evolution; Statistical method; Nucleotide sequence; Aminoacid sequence