Journal of Molecular Evolution

http://link.springer.com/journal/239

List of Papers (Total 156)

Transposable Elements Activity is Positively Related to Rate of Speciation in Mammals

Transposable elements (TEs) play an essential role in shaping eukaryotic genomes and generating variability. Speciation and TE activity bursts could be strongly related in mammals, in which simple gradualistic models of differentiation do not account for the currently observed species variability. In order to test this hypothesis, we designed two parameters: the Density of...

Group Selection May Explain Cancer Predisposition and Other Human Traits’ Evolution

Group selection is a matter of acute controversy among evolutionary biologists. The most well-publicized debate in this regard is that between Edward O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins. As is widely known, Edward O. Wilson is very excited about the idea of social selection and eusociality; by contrast Richard Dawkins favors the idea of gene selection. As is often the case, the truth...

Triplet-Based Codon Organization Optimizes the Impact of Synonymous Mutation on Nucleic Acid Molecular Dynamics

Since the elucidation of the genetic code almost 50 years ago, many nonrandom aspects of its codon organization remain only partly resolved. Here, we investigate the recent hypothesis of ‘dual-use’ codons which proposes that in addition to allowing adjustment of codon optimization to tRNA abundance, the degeneracy in the triplet-based genetic code also multiplexes information...

From Molecules to Life: Quantifying the Complexity of Chemical and Biological Systems in the Universe

Life is a complex phenomenon and much research has been devoted to both understanding its origins from prebiotic chemistry and discovering life beyond Earth. Yet, it has remained elusive how to quantify this complexity and how to compare chemical and biological units on one common scale. Here, a mathematical description of molecular complexity was applied allowing to...

Phylogenetic Profiling of Mitochondrial Proteins and Integration Analysis of Bacterial Transcription Units Suggest Evolution of F1Fo ATP Synthase from Multiple Modules

ATP synthase is a complex universal enzyme responsible for ATP synthesis across all kingdoms of life. The F-type ATP synthase has been suggested to have evolved from two functionally independent, catalytic (F1) and membrane bound (Fo), ancestral modules. While the modular evolution of the synthase is supported by studies indicating independent assembly of the two subunits, the...

Some Liked It Hot: A Hypothesis Regarding Establishment of the Proto-Mitochondrial Endosymbiont During Eukaryogenesis

Eukaryotic cells are characterized by a considerable increase in subcellular compartmentalization when compared to prokaryotes. Most evidence suggests that the earliest eukaryotes consisted of mitochondria derived from an α-proteobacterial ancestor enclosed within an archaeal host cell. However, what benefits the archaeal host and the proto-mitochondrial endosymbiont might have...

The Central Symbiosis of Molecular Biology: Molecules in Mutualism

As illustrated by the mitochondrion and the eukaryotic cell, little in biology makes sense except in light of mutualism. Mutualisms are persistent, intimate, and reciprocal exchanges; an organism proficient in obtaining certain benefits confers those on a partner, which reciprocates by conferring different benefits. Mutualisms (i) increase fitness, (ii) inspire robustness, (iii...

The Distribution of Miniature Impala Elements and SIX Genes in the Fusarium Genus is Suggestive of Horizontal Gene Transfer

The mimp family of miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements was previously found only in genomes of Fusarium oxysporum and is contextually associated with virulence genes in this species. Through extensive comparative analysis of 83 F. oxysporum and 52 other Fusarium genomes, we uncovered the distribution of different mimp families throughout the genus. We show that (i...

Efficient Heritable Gene Expression Readily Evolves in RNA Pools

Heritable gene expression arises readily in a simple non-genetic system employing known small-RNA biochemistry. Pooled cross-templating ribonucleotides show varied chemical competence on which selection acts, even calculating only minimal effects. Evolution can be quick—computed progress toward encoded gene expression can require only days or weeks for two millimolar, partly...

The Origin of Life: Models and Data

A general framework for conventional models of the origin of life (OOL) is the specification of a ‘privileged function.’ A privileged function is an extant biological function that is excised from its biological context, elevated in importance over other functions, and transported back in time to a primitive chemical or geological environment. In RNA or Clay Worlds, the...

Experimental Evolution of Escherichia coli Harboring an Ancient Translation Protein

The ability to design synthetic genes and engineer biological systems at the genome scale opens new means by which to characterize phenotypic states and the responses of biological systems to perturbations. One emerging method involves inserting artificial genes into bacterial genomes and examining how the genome and its new genes adapt to each other. Here we report the...

Finding Direction in the Search for Selection

Tests for positive selection have mostly been developed to look for diversifying selection where change away from the current amino acid is often favorable. However, in many cases we are interested in directional selection where there is a shift toward specific amino acids, resulting in increased fitness in the species. Recently, a few methods have been developed to detect and...

Measuring Accelerated Rates of Insertions and Deletions Independent of Rates of Nucleotide Substitution

Evolutionary constraint for insertions and deletions (indels) is not necessarily equal to constraint for nucleotide substitutions for any given region of a genome. Knowing the variation in indel-specific evolutionary rates across the sequence will aid our understanding of evolutionary constraints on indels, and help us infer how indels have contributed to the evolution of the...

Biochemical Refinement Before Genetics: Chance Utility

Given two primordial conditions that seem likely to be common, near-ideal reactions for evolutionary progress are realized. These requisites are sporadic availability of pooled reactants and evolutionarily useful products within a pool’s repertoire. These intrinsically optimizing circumstances function without genetics, and therefore can help evolve a first genetic system. This...

Natural pH Gradients in Hydrothermal Alkali Vents Were Unlikely to Have Played a Role in the Origin of Life

The hypothesis that a natural pH gradient across inorganic membranes lying between the ocean and fluid issuing from hydrothermal alkali vents provided energy to drive chemical reactions during the origin of life has an attractive parallel with chemiosmotic ATP synthesis in present-day organisms. However, arguments raised in this review suggest that such natural pH gradients are...

Dosage Compensation and the Distribution of Sex-Biased Gene Expression in Drosophila: Considerations and Genomic Constraints

Several studies in Drosophila have shown a paucity of male-biased genes (i.e., genes that express higher in males than in females) on the X chromosome. Dosage compensation (DC) is a regulatory mechanism of gene expression triggered in males that hypertranscribes the X-linked genes to the level of transcription in females. There are currently two different hypotheses about the...

Evolution of the α-Subunit of Na/K-ATPase from Paramecium to Homo sapiens: Invariance of Transmembrane Helix Topology

Na/K-ATPase is a key plasma membrane enzyme involved in cell signaling, volume regulation, and maintenance of electrochemical gradients. The α-subunit, central to these functions, belongs to a large family of P-type ATPases. Differences in transmembrane (TM) helix topology, sequence homology, helix–helix contacts, cell signaling, and protein domains of Na/K-ATPase α-subunit were...

The TIM Barrel Architecture Facilitated the Early Evolution of Protein-Mediated Metabolism

The triosephosphate isomerase (TIM) barrel protein fold is a structurally repetitive architecture that is present in approximately 10 % of all enzymes. It is generally assumed that this ubiquity in modern proteomes reflects an essential historical role in early protein-mediated metabolism. Here, we provide quantitative and comparative analyses to support several hypotheses about...

Evolution of Enzyme Kinetic Mechanisms

This review paper discusses the reciprocal kinetic behaviours of enzymes and the evolution of structure–function dichotomy. Kinetic mechanisms have evolved in response to alterations in ecological and metabolic conditions. The kinetic mechanisms of single-substrate mono-substrate enzyme reactions are easier to understand and much simpler than those of bi–bi substrate enzyme...