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Penguin DNA evolving faster than thought

Comparing the DNA in modern birds to that in ancient generations shows molecular evolution can happen at varying rates

2:35pm, November 17, 2009

The evolutionary march of the penguins happened in double time, according to new genetic calculations.

A study of DNA from ancient and modern Adélie penguins suggests that scientists may have miscalculated the rates at which genetic clocks tick off evolutionary time in other species as well. A team of researchers collected mitochondrial DNA from penguins currently living in rookeries in Antarctica and from bones of penguins that had lived in the same spot as long as 44,000 years ago. Analysis of the DNA reveals that the penguins are evolving on a molecular scale two to six times faster than standard calculations indicated, the team reports in the November Trends in Ge

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