Molecular Clocks

Since its proposal in the 1960s, the molecular clock has become an essential tool in many areas of evolutionary biology, including systematics, molecular ecology, and conservation genetics. The molecular clock hypothesis states that DNA and protein sequences evolve at a rate that is relatively constant over time and among different organisms. A direct consequence of this constancy is that the genetic difference between any two species is proportional to the time since these species last shared a common ancestor.

We are interested in all theoretical and applied aspects of molecular clocks.

Trends in Genetics
Time-dependent molecular rates
Systematic Biology

Recent projects

  • Mammalian genome evolution is governed by multiple pacemakers
  • Simulating and detecting autocorrelation of molecular evolutionary rates among lineages
  • Prolonged decay of molecular rate estimates for metazoan mitochondrial DNA
  • Accounting for rate variation among lineages in comparative demographic analyses
  • The impact of calibration and clock-model choice on molecular estimates of divergence times
  • Analyses of evolutionary dynamics in viruses are hindered by a time-dependent bias in rate estimates
  • Using multiple relaxed-clock models to estimate evolutionary timescales from DNA sequence data
  • ClockstaR: Choosing the number of relaxed-clock models in molecular phylogenetic analysis