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 2. Mitochondrial DNA and ribosomal RNA provide two types of molecular clocks

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PostSubject: 2. Mitochondrial DNA and ribosomal RNA provide two types of molecular clocks   04/02/09, 10:44 pm

• Different molecules mutate at a different rate
• Depending on how closely the two species are related, scientists choose a molecule with an appropriate mutation rate to use as a molecular clock
MITOCHONDRIAL DNA
• Mitochondrial DNA- DNA found only in the mitochondria, the energy factories of cells
• Mutation rate is 10x faster than that of nuclear DNA = good clock for closely related species
• Always inherited from mother, so it is “unshuffled” and easier to study over time

RIBOSOMAL RNA
• Ribosomal RNA- RNA is found in ribosomes, the organisms that manufacture proteins in cells
• Low mutation rate = used to study distantly related species, like from different kingdom or phylum
• When mutations do build up, they are clear and easy to compare
• Carl Woese first used rRNA to establish that archaea bacteria diverged from common ancestor it shared with bacteria almost 4 billion years ago
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2. Mitochondrial DNA and ribosomal RNA provide two types of molecular clocks
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