The study of evolutionary mechanisms in operation at the molecular scale, primarily DNA, RNA, and proteins.

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Why are there both stop and start codons?

Based on my understanding from wikipedia, there is the (RNA) start codon AUG and the stop codons UAA, UGA, UAG. AUG can also encode Methionine, I'm assuming if it appears in the middle of a mRNA ...
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If you are God, how would you create an efficient priming reaction? [closed]

Imagine that you are “natural selection” (or God if you prefer) and you can reconstitute replication changing the concentrations or the properties (higher/lower activity; reactivity; etc.) of the ...
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168 views

Formation of Life

Originally, life evolved from non-living matter. Why is life only generated from other life nowadays, and why doesn't it evolve from inanimate matter, like it did originally billions of years ago, ...
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210 views

Why is mRNA needed in the Protein translation?

The original question was to predict the basic requirements for information storage. Then the discussion moved to why is it necessary to include mRNA in the protein translation process. Why can't ...
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14 views

What genetic distance model should be used when calculating genetic differences in Arelquin?

I'm using Arelquin to look at the genetic structure between a number of different populations. I want to compare the populations by producing pairwise FST values, however I don't know what model for ...
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148 views

The origin of molecular machines

DNA holds genetic information and holds the key to the evolution of living organisms. Transcription and translation mechanisms enable living cells to process information encoded in DNA. To that end, ...
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37 views

Mechanisms of genotype*sex interactions

I'm looking for suggestions of the mechanistic level at which genotype*sex interactions can occur. These give different phenotypes from the same genotype dependent on the sex they are expressed in. ...
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74 views

Evidence & discussions of hard polytomy

Phylogenetic trees with >2 branches on a node are polytomic, and polytomy can appear on trees for two reasons. Firstly a lack of information in the data prevents proper resolution within a clade, ...
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75 views

At what rate do chromosomal rearrangements occur?

How often does chromosomal rearrangements occur? i.e. what is the rate of chromosomal rearrangements? I am interested about these kind of chromosomal rearrangements that are passed on to the ...
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When did CRISPR/Cas9 evolve and what is the likelihood that a superior system for live cell genome editing has already evolved on earth since then?

I've read that CRISPR/Cas9 is currently being implemented and tested for its ability to edit genomes in live cells, and that it is supplanting other genome editing tools in labs, such as TALENs and ...
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78 views

Is the heterotroph hypothesis universally accepted?

I was wondering whether there are hypotheses that take a different approach that is contrary to the heterotroph hypothesis. The heterotroph hypothesis states that autotrophs evolved from heterotrophs ...
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64 views

How to track and describe the evolution of a gene?

So I have a project student (undergraduate) who has been assigned a project to study the evolution of a gene (and possibly related genes) through species. I am not an evolutionary biologist, and hence ...
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48 views

Odds of Fusion of Chromosome #2

There is strong evidence that chromosome 2 in humans is a fusion of two chimp chromosomes (i.e. common ancestor of chimps and humans) as explained at wikipedia here The question is what are the odds ...
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Heterochromatin production limitations

Currently playing with some ideas for a project and needed some guidance. I am wondering, both in Drosophila melanogaster and in general, is the amount of heterochromatin a cell/nucleus can produce ...
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151 views

A question about the intersection of evolution and thermodynamics

From this 2014 article in Quanta magazine by Natalie Wolchover there is a quote from a physicist with an intriguing idea about evolution: “You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine ...
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1answer
59 views

Converting Ensembl Compara gene tree DNA alignment to corresponding amino acid alignment

I have Ensembl compara gene tree alignments (Compara.gene_trees.57.fasta.gz downloaded from ftp://ftp.ensembl.org/pub/release-57/emf/ensembl-compara/homologies/) in nucleotide format. According to ...
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88 views

Inbreeding depression and dominance

From this article, second paragraph of the second page A classic theoretical result is that the mean of a character controlled by a single locus i with two alleles Ai1 and Ai2 is only affected by ...
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1answer
56 views

Coefficient of relationship and path of coefficient

A path of coefficient of relationship is defined as $$\rho_{AO} = \left( \frac{1}{2}\right)^n \sqrt { \frac{1+f_A}{1+f_O}}$$ This SE post discusses this definition From this, the coefficient of ...
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47 views

Inbreeding Coefficient and Coefficient of Relationship

Wikipedia gives the following formula to calculate a "path of coefficient of relationship" between an ancestor $A$ and an offspring $O$: $$\rho_{AO} = 2^{-n} \left( \frac{1+f_A}{1+f_O} \right)^{1/2} ...
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46 views

Book Recommendation: Complex Traits and Complex Genetic Architecture

I am looking for a book (or any good source of information) that offers an in-depth discussion and models about the evolution and analysis of complex traits and complex genetic architecture. Do you ...
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94 views

Is there a name for this principle in biological contexts?

This is mostly a question about usage. There is a probability-related idea that has been used in at least two biological contexts. The idea is that if something happened, it was probably likely to ...
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95 views

Book recommendations for evolutionary models

I was recently working on getting a statistical model of a DNA sequence. To do this I found that understanding evolution quantitatively seems to be quite important. I would really appreciate any book ...
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96 views

Book suggestion on computational molecular evolution

I'm currently reading Computational Molecular Evolution by Yang. Can you recommend alternative books? I am finding it to be lacking on conceptual discussion (it's more focussed on the mathematics and ...
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88 views

Selection on linked loci in a diploid population

Let’s consider two linked loci $A$ and $B$ that are both bi-allelic. In consequence, we have four different possible haplotypes $A_1B_1$, $A_1B_2$, $A_2B_1$, $A_2B_2$, which frequencies are $X_1$, ...
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84 views

Mutation rate in viruses

Mutation rate is a phenotypic trait that evolves. The process of evolution of such kind of traits are often referred to as evolvability. I am wondering about the evolution of the mutation rates in ...
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How far in evolutionary distance is the P-distance estimator “accurate”?

I'm reading Yang's computational molecular evolution and in the very first chapter it says the P distance is a "simplistic distance measure" between two sequences. It is the number of different sites ...
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49 views

Evolutionary conservativeness

List the following proteins in the order of decreasing evolutionary conservativeness of their primary structure: Somatotropin. Catalytic subunit of a DNA – polymerase. Histone H1. ...
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103 views

How much DNA of mitochondrial origin is incorporated in main cell's DNA?

And especially three points : in which chromosomes is it located (especially for the human case) ? how do we know about it ? does the proportion and composition vary a lot from one eukaryot to ...
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180 views

Why and how does complexity usually tends to increase through time?

The question of complexity is classic in the very first lectures of evolutionary biology where the teacher usually tries to tell the students that complexity does not necessary increases and that ...
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217 views

Why, specifically, does each generation, on average, improve upon the design of the species rather than degrade it?

In every non-life example I can envision, a copy of a copy is always a degraded or less pure version of the original unless some outside influence acts to correct the copy back toward the ideal ...
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705 views

Smallest unit on which selection can act

Traditionally, the individual was considered to be the smallest unit on which Natural Selection (NS) acts. Today, we usually consider the gene as being the unit of NS. Of course, we should also ...
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437 views

How does the genetic code evolve?

After looking at this question, some other questions poped in my mind. The DNA code is redundant, there are 20 amino acids for 64 possible nucleotide combinations. Therefore some amino acid are coded ...
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417 views

What is the viability of Intelligent Design as a supplement to chemical abiogenesis and Darwinian Evolution?

First of all I am not endorsing Intelligent Design (Wikipedia link); I'm asking this because I (someone who does not have a background in biology, organic chemistry, or philosophy) got into a ...
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944 views

Why is allolactose the LacI inducer?

For what reason(s) is allolactose, instead of lactose, the "natural" inducer of lac operon repressor?
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104 views

Hardy-Weinberg applied to three alleles and stimation of allele frequencies

I have this equation: Corresponds to HW in equilibria with three alleles: $(p+q+r)^2=1$ Expanding the square results: $p^2+2pq+r^2+2pr+q^2+2qr = 1$ I need to separate homozygous and ...
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655 views

Why do neurones use chemical signalling at synaptic junctions?

Problem. When a neurone fires, it sends an electrical signal that jumps down the axon via the nodes of Ranvier very rapidly. At a synaptic junction, chemical brownian diffusion signalling with ...
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3answers
196 views

Good book on Origin of Life [closed]

What is a book that goes into reasonable detail (but isn't textbook-level technical) about the origin of earth and in particular the origin of life on earth? Something intended for a broad audience, ...
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1answer
75 views

Nucleotide frequencies in Kimura's two-parameter model

Here's an excerpt about Kimura's two-parameter model from Felsenstein's Inferring Phylogenies: "The model is symmetrical, and one can immediately see that, after enough time has elapsed, it ...