The Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, 1983 - Science - 367 pages
Motoo Kimura, as founder of the neutral theory, is uniquely placed to write this book. He first proposed the theory in 1968 to explain the unexpectedly high rate of evolutionary change and very large amount of intraspecific variability at the molecular level that had been uncovered by new techniques in molecular biology. The theory - which asserts that the great majority of evolutionary changes at the molecular level are caused not by Darwinian selection but by random drift of selectively neutral mutants - has caused controversy ever since. This book is the first comprehensive treatment of this subject and the author synthesises a wealth of material - ranging from a historical perspective, through recent molecular discoveries, to sophisticated mathematical arguments - all presented in a most lucid manner.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - amarcobio - LibraryThing

I may be biased but I think this is an essential book to understand evolution. It is true that some pieces may be a bit out of date, the the whole book is still scientifically sound. The text is clear ... Read full review


From Lamarck to population genetics
Overdevelopment of the synthetic theory and the proposal of
The neutral mutationrandom drift hypothesis as an evolutionary
Molecular evolutionary rates contrasted with phenotypic evolu
Some features of molecular evolution
Definition types and action of natural selection
Molecular structure selective constraint and the rate of evolution
Population genetics at the molecular level
Maintenance of genetic variability at the molecular level
Summary and conclusion

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 342 - Gilbert, W. (1977) A new method for sequencing DNA. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 74, 560-564.
Page 330 - Cordell, B., Bell, G. Tischer, E., DeNoto, FM, Ullrich, A., Pictet, R., Rutter, WJ & Goodman, HM (1979).
Page 347 - Dennis. 1979. Nucleotide sequence of the ribosomal protein gene cluster adjacent to the gene for RNA polymerase subunit ft in Escherichia coli.

About the author (1983)

Joseph Heywood is the author of three highly acclaimed novels: The Berkut, Taxi Dancer, and The Domino Conspiracy as well as the Woods Cop mystery series that includes Ice Hunter, Blue Wolf in Green Fire, Chasing a Blond Moon, and Running Dark and a collection of essays titled Covered Waters. He lives and writes in Portage, Michigan and fishes in the Upper Peninsula.

Bibliographic information