Standard Article

Molecular Evolution

  1. Jan Klein

Published Online: 21 DEC 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001795.pub2



How to Cite

Klein, J. 2007. Molecular Evolution. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Max Planck Institute for Biology, Tübingen, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 DEC 2007


Molecular evolution is the process by which molecules of living forms diverge from one another over time. The study of molecular evolution embraces the evolution of the molecules themselves, their origins, how they change from taxon to taxon, the effects of these changes on function, and the integration of the molecules in the biochemical pathways of an organism. It also infers phylogenetic relationships and contributes to the formulation of general principles of evolution at the molecular level.


  • evolution;
  • molecular evolution;
  • taxonomy;
  • gene;
  • allele;
  • DNA