Molecular dating rates vary
This research implies that many previous studies, even some of those using recently developed methods, might have placed too much confidence in their date estimates, and their conclusions might need to be revised.
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However, there are millions of differences between humans and chimpanzees; our last common ancestor lived over six million years ago.
Gene flow between divergent populations leads to chromosomes with mosaic ancestry.
Most result from mistakes when DNA copies itself during cell division, although other types of mutations occur spontaneously or from exposure to hazards like radiation and chemicals.
In a single human genome, there are about 70 nucleotide changes per generation – minuscule in a genome made up of six billion letters.
Analyzing DNA from present-day and ancient genomes provides a complementary approach for dating evolutionary events.
Because certain genetic changes occur at a steady rate per generation, they provide an estimate of the time elapsed.