FUMIO TAJIMA, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


With the aim of understanding the mechanism of molecular evolution, mathematical problems on the evolutionary change of DNA sequences are studied. The problems studied and the results obtained are as follows: (1) Estimation of evolutionary distance between nucleotide sequences. Studying the pattern of nucleotide substitution for the case of unequal substitution rates, a new mathematical formula for estimating the average number of nucleotide substitutions per site between two homologous DNA sequences is developed. It is shown that this formula has a wider applicability than currently available formulae. A statistical method for estimating the number of nucleotide changes due to deletion and insertion is also developed. (2) Biases of the estimates of nucleotide substitutions obtained by the restriction enzyme method. The deviation of the estimate of nucleotide substitutions obtained by the restriction enzyme method from the true value is investigated theoretically. It is shown that the amount of the deviation depends on the nucleotides in the recognition sequence of the restriction enzyme used, unequal rates of substitution among different nucleotides, and nucleotide frequences, but the primary factor is the unequal rates of nucleotide substitution. When many different kinds of enzymes are used, however, the amount of average deviation is generally small. (3) Distribution of restriction fragment lengths. To see the effect of undetectable restriction fragments and fragment differences on the estimate of nucleotide differences, the theoretical distribution of fragment lengths is studied. This distribution depends on the type of restriction enzymes used as well as on the relative frequencies of four nucleotides. It is shown that undetectability of small fragments or fragment differences gives a serious underestimate of nucleotide substitutions when the length-difference method of estimation is used, but the extent of underestimation is small when the site-difference method is used. (4) Evolutionary relationships of DNA sequences in finite populations. A mathematical theory on the expected evolutionary relationships among DNA sequences (nucleons) randomly chosen from the same or different populations is developed under the assumption that the evolutionary change of nucleons is determined solely by mutation and random genetic drift. . . . (Author's abstract exceeds stipulated maximum length. Discontinued here with permission of author). UMI

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Recommended Citation

TAJIMA, FUMIO, "MATHEMATICAL STUDIES ON THE EVOLUTIONARY CHANGE OF DNA SEQUENCES" (1983). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI8405467.