Re: Mitochondrial Eve
Wed, 19 May 1999 17:38:42 EDT

In a message dated 5/19/99 12:45:19 PM Mountain Daylight Time,

> 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.

This is a hair-splitting rebutal. Of course if genes change then so can
their mutation rates, but if they change they are technically no longer the
same genes they were before they changed. After all, different genes have
different rates of mutation. What Gordon Simons is talking about are the
rates of mutation of STABLE genes; ie, genes that do not change. Any gene
that does not change has a constant rate of mutation; if it changes then its
rate of mutation may also change, but genes that do not change do not have
changing rates of mutation.

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

Excellent. Then you have learned something new. Alleles are genes that
produce the same (or essentially the same) protein product that differ only
by slight mutations yet can be differentiated and separated by Mendelian
genetics. The fact that they are very similar is irrelevant; they act like
separate genes and fundamentally they are different genes, hence each can
have its own rate of mutation.

Kevin L. O'Brien