Intro to Molecular Evolution

Key Points of Investigation:

What factors determine the rate at which genomes generate and fix mutations?


  • Genomic structure
  • Polymerase fidelity
  • Error repair mechanisms
  • Genome size
  • Strandedness (time spent in single vs. double strand state)
  • Location on Genome (week 2:What factors influence "neutral" mutation rates)


  • Chemical
  • Spontaneous deamination (week 2:Chromosome location)

Lingering Question: Do spontaneous mutations occur in a pattern and if so, can they be predicted or experimentally induced? Are there constraints to "spontaneity"? Are spontaneous and random the same thing?