What do molecular clocks determine?

1 Answer
Mar 5, 2017

Molecular clock is a technique that uses the mutation rate of biomolecules to deduce the time when two or more life forms diverged.


It measures the number of changes and mutations which accumulate in the gene sequence of different species over a period of time.

Evolutionary biologists use this information to deduce how species evolve and determine when two species diverged on the evolutionary timeline.
The molecular clock technique is an important tool in molecular systematics. It is useful to determine the correct scientific classification of organisms by deriving information from molecular genetics.
It is useful in the study of variations in selective forces.
It also facilitates the establishing of dates of phylogenetic events including those not documented by fossils.

It is based on the fact that genetic mutations although random, occur at relatively constant rate.
Nucleotide sequences ( for DNA ) and amino acid sequences ( for proteins ) are used as bio molecular data for these calculations.