Definition of molecular clock in English:

molecular clock


  • The average rate at which a species' genome accumulates mutations, used to measure their evolutionary divergence and in other calculations.

    ‘Here, we discuss the usefulness and limitations of molecular clocks in studying avian evolution, with emphasis on the use of an accurate calibration point.’
    • ‘The majority of the fossils used for calibration of avian molecular clocks have uncertain phylogenetic relationships.’
    • ‘Divergence times of living species, estimated from molecular clocks, have the potential to constrain hypotheses of the relationships of fossil species.’
    • ‘Before we can draw inferences from a molecular clock, we must calibrate its ‘ticking rate.’’
    • ‘We introduce a parametric model that relaxes the molecular clock by allowing rates to vary across lineages according to a compound Poisson process.’