Questions tagged [molecular-evolution]

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

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31
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3answers
52k views

Why is ATP the preferred choice for energy carriers?

Why is ATP the most prevalent form of chemical energy storage and utilization in most cells?
20
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3answers
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Do animals other than humans have different blood types?

Humans have the ABO and Rhesus blood typing systems. I have two questions about it: Why have we evolved these blood types? Do other animals have different blood types as well?
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What came first? The DNA or the DNA polymerases?

I know this sounds a lot like chicken and egg question and while the latter has an answer, I am intrigued about the former. A modified form of the question would be, in the course of abiogenesis, ...
3
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1answer
168 views

Text Book Recommendation: Organic Evolution

I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of any text books on organic evolution? I have recently become interested in the subject and would like to know more. I think an undergrad ...
9
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1answer
354 views

Evolution of the Redundancy of the Genetic Code

In short Looking at the genetic code, it appears that most redundancy is on the third letter rather than on the first or the second letter of the codon. Why has it evolved this way? Longer version ...
9
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4answers
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Why and how does complexity usually tend 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 necessarily increase and that ...
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3answers
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How did the genetic code evolve?

The genetic code is redundant, there are 20 amino acids for 64 possible nucleotide combinations (triplet codons). Therefore some amino acid are coded by several different codons. While leucine is ...
11
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2answers
984 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 ...
4
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323 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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1answer
514 views

Approaches towards a theory of innovation in evolution

Evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner writes in his book "The Origins of Evolutionary Innovations: A Theory of Transformative Change in Living Systems" (Oxford University Press, 2011): We are ...
4
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1answer
138 views

Polymorphism in number of chromosomes?

The answer to this question, saying that Down Syndrome - a trisomy of human chromosome 21 - is caused by de novo mutation (rather than resulting from standing variation) made me think about ...
7
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1answer
3k 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 ...
5
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1answer
144 views

Learn Bioconductor the hard way!

I came to analyzing population genetics data from the background of a theoretician and a computer biologist but not with the standard tools that a bioinformatician (or empiricist in population ...
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4answers
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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 ...
13
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355 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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0answers
217 views

Do ring species exist?

In trying to understand evolution better, I have been looking at examples of speciation, and have thus come across the topic of ring species. I have tried to find concrete examples of how these work, ...
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4answers
721 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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1answer
6k 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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2answers
154 views

Is there selection against long proteins and long genes?

Background thought Titin and TTN Titin is the largest protein in the human genome with 33423 amino acids. Titin is coded by the gene TTN that must be at least $3 \cdot 33423 \approx 100kb$ long. ...
3
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2answers
4k views

Identity By Descent vs Identity By State

Background The concepts of Identity By Descent (IBD) vs Identity By State (IBS) are central in population genetics, yet I fail to fully wrap my head around the definitions. You can find examples ...
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0answers
157 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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1answer
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What is the relationship between radiation and evolution?

There is always a certain amount of background radiation present, for example due to ionizing radiation from the sun and other stars. Also certain materials like granite may emit relatively large ...
9
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2answers
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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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1answer
212 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 ...
3
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1answer
125 views

Why did translation develop a specific codon for initiation?

The translation of mRNA is initiated by a specific methionine-accepting tRNA at a specific initiation codon, usually AUG (complementary to the tRNA anticodon). However translation at suitable (albeit ...
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1answer
2k 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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2answers
179 views

Junk DNA and “random” mutations [closed]

I'm somewhat irritated by "mutation" generally being described as a fully random factor in evolution: pure randomness does not seem like something that can survive in a long evolutionary process. And ...
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1answer
509 views

Have there been any macro-evolution experiements?

I'd like to start first by saying that I don't believe in creationism at all, nor any non-Darwinian-evolution explanation of the diversity of life on Earth. The theory, the fossil record, and the ...
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1answer
136 views

What is the point at which abiogenesis is complete and evolution begins? [closed]

Is the minimum criterion for life a single cell? It seems that self-replicating RNA is not enough, but I don't know. What would be the most basic cell that could fit this criterion and what cells ...