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Keywords:

  • Divergence time estimation;
  • molecular dating methods;
  • rate heterogeneity;
  • review

ABSTRACT

This article reviews the most common methods used today for estimating divergence times and rates of molecular evolution. The methods are grouped into three main classes: (1) methods that use a molecular clock and one global rate of substitution, (2) methods that correct for rate heterogeneity, and (3) methods that try to incorporate rate heterogeneity. Additionally, links to the most important literature on molecular dating are given, including articles comparing the performance of different methods, papers that investigate problems related to taxon, gene and partition sampling, and literature discussing highly debated issues like calibration strategies and uncertainties, dating precision and the calculation of error estimates.