Molecular Clocks & Generation Time

Jonah Thomas JEThomas at ix.netcom.com
Sat May 6 08:50:22 EST 1995

In <3o9q5g$rl6 at owl.und.ac.za> daceh at shrike.und.ac.za (Halford Dace) writes: 

>It's probably worth bearing in mind that mutation rates per se probably
>aren't that important - a mutation will only enter a population's gene
>pool if it happens in a germ line cell.  I would think that this would
>tend to `speed up' the molecular clocks of organisms with shorter
>generatioal times, since more generations (ie more gametogenesis &
>fertilizations) in a given period would allow more mutations to
>accumulate, since the genes comprising the population's gene pool
>would have spent a greater proportion of time as gametes.

>I think the idea makes sense but I'm sure that there's a better way of
>expressing it.

Here's the metaphor I came up with:  Imagine that airline pilots live very
stressful lives.  Over time they may develop alcoholism or drug addictions or
other things that would make them bad pilots.  So the airline companies try
to weed out the bad ones as they find them.

In terms of being in an aircraft accident, are you worse off with an older
pilot, or are you worse off if you fly more often?

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