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At least in terms of a back-of-the-envelope calculation, what is a believable range for the number of gene changes between parent and child species to represent speciation between species of megafauna?

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closed as off-topic by David, AliceD Aug 16 at 22:05

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To paraphrase an old saying, gene changes should be weighed not counted. There are a plethora of types of gene changes, and they vary by orders of magnitude in their impact. In particular, which genes are affected has a huge impact. Some point mutations (change in a single or a few nucleotides) can be lethal. On the other hand there are trisomies where an entire chromosome is duplicated. These may cause severe health problems but don't result in a different species.

As is discussed in many other questions on this site, the definition of a species is fuzzy and context specific.

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  • $\begingroup$ What you say is all very well but it does not seem to be an answer to this question. The poster's question may be unclear and naive, but he seems to be interested in the rate at which new genes appear as species diverge to something different. The fact that the definition of species is fuzzy is irrelevant. The sort of answer that would be useful (but which I am not able to provide) is an estimate of the number of different gene between two species with a common answer (mouse and rat?) and the evolutionary distance between them. This would give some sort of approximate rate. $\endgroup$ – David Aug 15 at 22:29

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