Editorial Changes at the Journal of Molecular Evolution
Editorial Changes at the Journal of Molecular Evolution
Niles Lehman 0
0 N. Lehman (&) Department of Chemistry, Portland State University , Portland, OR 97207 , USA
Fig. 1 Advertisement for a new journal (JME) as it appears in the October 1971 issue of Die Naturwissenschaften immediately opposite the
first page of Manfred Eigens (1971) groundbreaking treatise on molecular evolution and the origins of life
members included Jukes (an original candidate for EIC),
Linus Pauling, Melvin Calvin, Mooto Kimura, John May
nard Smith, Alan Wilson, and Carl Woose. Many of the
current AEs can trace their history to one or more of these
founding editors. Zuckerkandl remained EIC until 1998
when he retired from active duty with the journal and
passed the baton to Marty.
Martys rein as EIC lasted from 1998 to last month, and
I wish to extend my laudits to him for a remarkable job
over those 15 years. He expanded the base of associate
editors that were on the editorial board and brought in a
very wide range of expertise. These AEs had to consider an
increasingly broad array of manuscript subjects, as the
discipline known as molecular evolution itself evolved
and expanded at a breathtaking rate as we entered the
genomic era. During this time too, many new and highly
competitive publication venues became available to
molecular evolutionists, and it is a testament to Martys
insight that JME has remained strong and vibrant over
these years. Of course none of this could have been
possible without the adroit assistance of two remarkable
journal administrators that worked with Marty and all the
AEs during this time: Ms. Connie Homan and Ms. Emily
Hudson. I know Marty would join me in extending a
heartfelt volley of gratitude to both Connie and Emily for
all their hard work!
The original aims and scopes of JME spanned research
between prebiotic chemistry and population genetics.
Many of the papers published in the 1970s were
experimental studies by chemists such as Leslie Orgel, Stanly
Miller, and Juan Oro to recapilate the molecular events that
led to the first proteins and nucleic acids. The fact that such
researchers were a key target audience for the journal can
be seen in Fig. 1. Here an advertisement in Die
Naturwissenschaften for the first issue of JME can be found on
the facing page immediately preceding the first paper of
another cornerstone paper in the field, which was Manfred
Eigens (1971) treatise on the mathematical principles
behind replicator selection. It was in this paper that the
concepts of the quasi-species and the hypercycle were first
introduced. These ideas, both their theoretical
underpinnings and their empirical investigations fell within the first
listed aim of the journal on biogenetic evolution
(prebiological molecules and their interaction). Other aims of
the journal at the time (Fig. 1) were listed as:
Evolution of informational macromolecules (primary
through quaternary structure).
Evolution of genetic control mechanisms.
Evolution of enzyme systems and their products.
Evolution of macromolecular systems (chromosomes,
mitochondria, membranes, etc.).
Evolutionary aspects of molecular population genetics.
In the coming months and years, a few changes in the
journal will be sought. First is that manuscript submission,
tracking, and handling will now be handled through
Editorial Manager (http://www.editorialmanager.com/jmev).
Submissions will no longer be possible through Scholar
One. The second is that the focus of the journal will in some
ways be aligned more strongly with the original aims and
scopes as listed above. A common theme that pervades the
six original areas of focus is evolutionary mechanisms.
Papers that seek to understand molecular evolutionary
mechanisms that have the potential to transcend levels of
organization will be especially encouraged. Studies
performed using computational, chemical, in vitro, and
experimental evolutionary methods, and those that target
speciesindependent phenomena such as ribosomal function, genetic
code evolution, and regulatory processes will occupy more
of the journal space than before, with the consequence that
work that is organism-, lineage-, or gene-specific will
require a broader impact to be considered for publication.
Other high-quality journals exist that specialize in molecular
phylogenetics, conservation genetics, and population-level
marker studies, to name a few, and it is not the intent of JME
to reiterate these specialties directly. Consequently, a
correlative change in the journal to this second point is that
more papers may be rejected out of hand by an AE if they do
not fit within the scope of the journal. This will serve to
expedite the decision-making process for manuscripts.
Third, the journal will solicit and welcome a greater number
of review articles and editorial pieces. We will encourage
submission and consider either short reviews on a topic
(\3000 words) or longer, more comprehensive reviews
([3000 words). In addition, short notes suitable as a letter
to the editor will also be considered for rapid publication of
new ideas or concise experimental studies. In this vein, the
Random Walking column that was written by Tom Jukes
on various hot topics in molecular evolution will be revived,
written by JME editors and guest editors alike. Lastly, the
journal will welcome a new Journal Administrator, Ms.
Anna Coleman-Hulbert, who (along with the EIC) can be
reached by email at . We thank you for
reading this and your continued support for the Journal of
Bernardi G ( 2012 ) Fifty-year old and still ticking An interview with Emile Zuckerkandl on the 50th anniversary of the molecular clock . J Mol Evol 74 : 233 - 236
Eigen M ( 1971 ) Self-organization of matter and the evolution of biological macromolecules . Naturwissenschaften 58 : 465 - 523
King JL , Jukes TH ( 1969 ) Non-Darwinian evolution. Science 164 : 788 - 798