Journal of Molecular Evolution (J Mol Evol)

Publisher: Springer Verlag

Journal description

The Journal covers experimental and theoretical work aimed at deciphering features of molecular evolution and the processes bearing on these features from the initial formation of macromolecular systems onward. Topics addressed in the Journal include the evolution of informational macromolecules and their relation to more complex levels of biological organization up to populations and taxa. This coverage accommodates well such subfields as comparative structural and functional genomics population genetics the molecular evolution of development the evolution of gene regulation and gene interaction networks and in vitro evolution of DNA and RNA.

Current impact factor: 1.86

Impact Factor Rankings

2015 Impact Factor Available summer 2015
2013 / 2014 Impact Factor 1.863
2012 Impact Factor 2.145
2011 Impact Factor 2.274
2010 Impact Factor 2.311
2009 Impact Factor 2.323
2008 Impact Factor 2.762
2007 Impact Factor 3.234
2006 Impact Factor 2.767
2005 Impact Factor 2.703
2004 Impact Factor 2.751
2003 Impact Factor 3.114
2002 Impact Factor 3.041
2001 Impact Factor 4.011
2000 Impact Factor 3.984
1999 Impact Factor 3.655
1998 Impact Factor 3.271
1997 Impact Factor 3.181
1996 Impact Factor 3.052
1995 Impact Factor 3.519
1994 Impact Factor 3.777
1993 Impact Factor 3.484
1992 Impact Factor 3.15

Impact factor over time

Impact factor

Additional details

5-year impact 2.38
Cited half-life 0.00
Immediacy index 0.31
Eigenfactor 0.01
Article influence 0.88
Website Journal of Molecular Evolution website
Other titles Journal of molecular evolution (Online), Molecular evolution, J mol evol
ISSN 1432-1432
OCLC 39983975
Material type Document, Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Springer Verlag

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Author's pre-print on pre-print servers such as
    • Author's post-print on author's personal website immediately
    • Author's post-print on any open access repository after 12 months after publication
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Published source must be acknowledged
    • Must link to publisher version
    • Set phrase to accompany link to published version (see policy)
    • Articles in some journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There have been two distinct phases of evolution of the genetic code: an ancient phase-prior to the divergence of the three domains of life, during which the standard genetic code was established-and a modern phase, in which many alternative codes have arisen in specific groups of genomes that differ only slightly from the standard code. Here we discuss the factors that are most important in these two phases, and we argue that these are substantially different. In the modern phase, changes are driven by chance events such as tRNA gene deletions and codon disappearance events. Selection acts as a barrier to prevent changes in the code. In contrast, in the ancient phase, selection for increased diversity of amino acids in the code can be a driving force for addition of new amino acids. The pathway of code evolution is constrained by avoiding disruption of genes that are already encoded by earlier versions of the code. The current arrangement of the standard code suggests that it evolved from a four-column code in which Gly, Ala, Asp, and Val were the earliest encoded amino acids.
    Journal of Molecular Evolution 06/2015; 80(5-6). DOI:10.1007/s00239-015-9686-8
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    ABSTRACT: This review paper discusses the reciprocal kinetic behaviours of enzymes and the evolution of structure-function dichotomy. Kinetic mechanisms have evolved in response to alterations in ecological and metabolic conditions. The kinetic mechanisms of single-substrate mono-substrate enzyme reactions are easier to understand and much simpler than those of bi-bi substrate enzyme reactions. The increasing complexities of kinetic mechanisms, as well as the increasing number of enzyme subunits, can be used to shed light on the evolution of kinetic mechanisms. Enzymes with heterogeneous kinetic mechanisms attempt to achieve specific products to subsist. In many organisms, kinetic mechanisms have evolved to aid survival in response to changing environmental factors. Enzyme promiscuity is defined as adaptation to changing environmental conditions, such as the introduction of a toxin or a new carbon source. Enzyme promiscuity is defined as adaptation to changing environmental conditions, such as the introduction of a toxin or a new carbon source. Enzymes with broad substrate specificity and promiscuous properties are believed to be more evolved than single-substrate enzymes. This group of enzymes can adapt to changing environmental substrate conditions and adjust catalysing mechanisms according to the substrate's properties, and their kinetic mechanisms have evolved in response to substrate variability.
    Journal of Molecular Evolution 05/2015; 80(5-6). DOI:10.1007/s00239-015-9681-0
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The wide spread and high rate of gene exchange and loss in the prokaryotic world translate into "network genomics". The rates of gene gain and loss are comparable with the rate of point mutations but are substantially greater than the duplication rate. Thus, evolution of prokaryotes is primarily shaped by gene gain and loss. These processes are essential to prevent mutational meltdown of microbial populations by stopping Muller's ratchet and appear to trigger emergence of major novel clades by opening up new ecological niches. At least some bacteria and archaea seem to have evolved dedicated devices for gene transfer. Despite the dominance of gene gain and loss, evolution of genes is intrinsically tree-like. The significant coherence between the topologies of numerous gene trees, particularly those for (nearly) universal genes, is compatible with the concept of a statistical tree of life, which forms the framework for reconstruction of the evolutionary processes in the prokaryotic world.
    Journal of Molecular Evolution 04/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00239-015-9679-7
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    ABSTRACT: Phylogenetic reconstruction of ribosomal history suggests that the ribonucleoprotein complex originated in structures supporting RNA decoding and ribosomal mechanics. A recent study of accretion of ancestral expansion segments of rRNA, however, contends that the large subunit of the ribosome originated in its peptidyl transferase center (PTC). Here I re-analyze the rRNA insertion data that supports this claim. Analysis of a crucial three-way junction connecting the long-helical coaxial branch that supports the PTC to the L1 stalk and its translocation functions reveals an incorrect branch-to-trunk insertion assignment that is in conflict with the PTC-centered accretion model. Instead, the insertion supports the ancestral origin of translocation. Similarly, an insertion linking a terminal coaxial trunk that holds the L7-12 stalk and its GTPase center to a seven-way junction of the molecule again questions the early origin of the PTC. Unwarranted assumptions, dismissals of conflicting data, structural insertion ambiguities, and lack of phylogenetic information compromise the construction of an unequivocal insertion-based model of macromolecular accretion. Results prompt integration of phylogenetic and structure-based models to address RNA junction growth and evolutionary constraints acting on ribosomal structure.
    Journal of Molecular Evolution 04/2015; 80(3-4). DOI:10.1007/s00239-015-9677-9
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    ABSTRACT: Ancestral recombination graphs (ARGs) represent the history of portions of a genome with recombination. Attempts to infer ARGs have been hampered by the lack of an ARG comparison metric which could be used to measure how well inference succeeded. We propose a simple ARG comparison framework based on averaging standard tree comparison measures across either all sites or variable sites only. Using simulated data, we show that this framework, instantiated with an appropriate tree comparison measure, can distinguish better from worse inferences of an ARG.
    Journal of Molecular Evolution 04/2015; 80(5-6). DOI:10.1007/s00239-015-9676-x
  • Source
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    ABSTRACT: For most amino acids, more than one codon can be used. Many hypotheses have been put forward to account for patterns of uneven use of synonymous codons (codon usage bias) that most often have been indirectly tested primarily by analyses of patterns. Direct experimental tests of effects of synonymous codon usage are available for unicellular organisms, however empirical data addressing this problem in multicellular eukaryotes are sparse. We have developed a flexible transfecting plasmid that allows us to empirically test the effects of different codons on transcription and translation and present data from Drosophila. We could detect no significant effects of codon usage on transcription. With regard to translation, optimal codons (most used) produce higher levels of protein expression compared to non-optimal codons if the effect of difference in thermodynamic stability of secondary structure of the 5' mRNA ribosome-binding site is controlled for. These results are consistent with what has been found in bacteria and thus expand the generality of these principles to multicellular eukaryotes.
    Journal of Molecular Evolution 04/2015; 80(3-4). DOI:10.1007/s00239-015-9675-y
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    ABSTRACT: The genetic code was likely complete in its current form by the time of the last universal common ancestor (LUCA). Several scenarios have been proposed for explaining the code's pre-LUCA emergence and expansion, and the relative order of the appearance of amino acids used in translation. One co-evolutionary model of genetic code expansion proposes that at least some amino acids were added to the code by the ancient divergence of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (aaRS) families. Of all the amino acids used within the genetic code, Trp is most frequently claimed as a relatively recent addition. We observe that, since TrpRS and TyrRS are paralogous protein families retaining significant sequence similarity, the inferred sequence composition of their ancestor can be used to evaluate this co-evolutionary model of genetic code expansion. We show that ancestral sequence reconstructions of the pre-LUCA paralog ancestor of TyrRS and TrpRS have several sites containing Tyr, yet a complete absence of sites containing Trp. This is consistent with the paralog ancestor being specific for the utilization of Tyr, with Trp being a subsequent addition to the genetic code facilitated by a process of aaRS divergence and neofunctionalization. Only after this divergence could Trp be specifically encoded and incorporated into proteins, including the TyrRS and TrpRS descendant lineages themselves. This early absence of Trp is observed under both homogeneous and non-homogeneous models of ancestral sequence reconstruction. Simulations support that this observed absence of Trp is unlikely to be due to chance or model bias. These results support that the final stages of genetic code evolution occurred well within the "protein world," and that the presence-absence of Trp within conserved sites of ancient protein domains is a likely measure of their relative antiquity, permitting the relative timing of extremely early events within protein evolution before LUCA.
    Journal of Molecular Evolution 03/2015; 80(3-4). DOI:10.1007/s00239-015-9672-1
  • Journal of Molecular Evolution 02/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00239-015-9668-x