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Biol Lett. 2009 June 23; 5(3): 417–420.
Published online 2009 April 8. doi:  10.1098/rsbl.2009.0155
PMCID: PMC2679941

Effective population size and the rate and pattern of nucleotide substitutions


Both the overall rate of nucleotide substitution and the relative proportions of synonymous and non-synonymous substitutions are predicted to vary between species that differ in effective population size (Ne). Our understanding of the genetic processes underlying these lineage-specific differences in molecular evolution is still developing. Empirical analyses indicate that variation in substitution rates and patterns caused by differences in Ne is often substantial, however, and must be accounted for in analyses of molecular evolution.

Keywords: effective population size, molecular evolution, substitution rate

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