Friday, December 11, 2009

New manuscript on the overlap feature of the genetic equidistance result

I am submitting this week a manuscript by me entitled “The overlap feature of the genetic equidistance result, a fundamental biological phenomenon overlooked for nearly half a century”. The work establishes an overlooked feature of a fundamental result that directly triggered the molecular clock and neutral theory, the dominating theory in the field of molecular evolution. If this old result had been correctly interpreted from the beginning, we would have seen a very different half-century of research on the molecular record of evolution. Epigenetics should have an important role to play in the hereditary transformation of life forms and hence in a complete theory of evolution. It is time to incorporate epigenetic into the field of evolution. Indeed, many facts of evolution simply cannot be explained without epigenetics, including the old result that directly triggered the field of molecular evolution.

The genetic equidistance result shows that different species are approximately equidistant to a simpler outgroup in sequence similarity, as first reported by Margoliash in 1963. This result, together with those of Zuckerkandl and Pauling in 1962, inspired the molecular clock and in turn the neutral theory. Here, it is shown that the clock/neutral theory had from the beginning overlooked another characteristic of the equidistance result, the overlap feature, which shows a large number of overlapped mutant positions where any pair of any three species is different provided that the species concerned differ from one another in complexity as a result of macroevolution. In contrast, when simple organisms of similar complexity and of short evolutionary divergence are compared, there are only a small number of overlaps largely consistent with chance or the neutral theory. Thus, the overlap feature is one of the best pieces of evidence for a clear distinction between macroevolution and microevolution. The full reality of the equidistance result strongly supports the Maximum Genetic Diversity Hypothesis, a more complete account of hereditary changes based on an inverse relationship between genetic diversity and epigenetic complexity.

P.S. The manuscript defines more clearly the overlap feature and corrects some minor errors in my earlier posts on the overlap feature.

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