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Molecular Clocks

  1. Wen-Hsiung Li,
  2. Kateryna D Makova

Published Online: 30 APR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005111.pub2



How to Cite

Li, W.-H. and Makova, K. D. 2008. Molecular Clocks. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 APR 2008


The molecular clock hypothesis postulates that the rate of evolution in a macromolecule is approximately constant per year over time and among different evolutionary lineages. While local clocks in closely related organisms with similar generation times can be useful for dating evolutionary events, strong evidence now suggests that no global or universal clock exists in mammals.


  • molecular clock;
  • relative-rate test;
  • generation-time effect hypothesis;
  • hominoid-slowdown hypothesis;
  • mutation rate;
  • unequal rates