Re: Mitochondrial Eve

Marcio Pie (
Wed, 19 May 1999 14:45:12 -0400 (EDT)

> writes:
> > 1. To begin with, I am a statistician, not a biologist. I am not expert
> > enough in biology to address the various nuances of meaning contained in
> > the word "mutation." Kevin, and perhaps biologists in general, currently
> > differentiate between "mutation rate" and "substitution rate." Fine. He
> > argues that mutation rates within a given gene are largely constant
> > (comparing it to the decay of a given isotope), but the rate varies
> > sometimes enormously from one gene to another (comparing it to variability
> > among isotopes). Interesting analogy.
> >
Kevin> It's more than an analogy; it is an experimentally established

I must desagree with your arguments in this matter. Genes may have fairly
constant mutation rates in the short term, but in the long term genes are
modified, and the structural features that maintain the mutation rates
may eventually change over time. You wrote:

>> a. a paper entitled "Mutation rate varies among alleles at a
>> microsatellite locus: Phylogenetic evidence," appearing in the _Proc.
>> Nat. Acad. of Sci._, Dec. 1996.
> Alleles are different genes, so naturally they can have different rates
> of mutation; this is nothing new.

Alleles at the same microsatellite locus are different genes??? This is
new to me!!