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Life Sciences Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2004

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Animals

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Estimating Metazoan Divergence Times With A Molecular Clock, Kevin J. Peterson, Jessica B. Lyons, Kristin S. Nowak, Carter M. Takacs, Matthew J. Wargo, Mark A. Mcpeek Apr 2004

Estimating Metazoan Divergence Times With A Molecular Clock, Kevin J. Peterson, Jessica B. Lyons, Kristin S. Nowak, Carter M. Takacs, Matthew J. Wargo, Mark A. Mcpeek

Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Scholarship

Accurately dating when the first bilaterally symmetrical animals arose is crucial to our understanding of early animal evolution. The earliest unequivocally bilaterian fossils are 555 million years old. In contrast, molecular-clock analyses calibrated by using the fossil record of vertebrates estimate that vertebrates split from dipterans (Drosophila) 900 million years ago (Ma). Nonetheless, comparative genomic analyses suggest that a significant rate difference exists between vertebrates and dipterans, because the percentage difference between the genomes of mosquito and fly is greater than between fish and mouse, even though the vertebrate divergence is almost twice that of the dipteran. Here we show ...