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An attempt to estimate the effective size of the ancestral species common to two extant species from which homologous genes are sequenced

Genetics Research
Cambridge University Press
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When DNA sequence data on various kinds of homologous genes sampled from two related species are available, there is a way to infer the effective size of their ancestral species, which is a simple consequence of gene genealogical considerations. This method, when applied to the common ancestral species of human and rat, human and mouse, human and bovine, or rodents and bovine estimates their effective sizes all to be of the order of 107, supporting the view that these species indeed shared, around 75 million years ago, a common ancestral species from which they are descended. The effective size thus estimated would imply that the ancestral species was abundant enough to have ample opportunity for adaptive radiation. The extent of silent polymorphism in that species might have been very large, possibly comparable to the number of silent substitutions accumulated in a gene after the mammalian divergence. Some causes that may alter these results and require a more elaborated statistical analysis are discussed.

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