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The rate of evolution is quantified as the speed of genetic or morphological change in a lineage over a period of time. The speed at which a molecular entity (such as a protein, gene, etc.) evolves is of considerable interest in evolutionary biology since determining the evolutionary rate is the first step in characterizing its evolution. Calculating rates of evolutionary change is also useful when studying phenotypic changes in phylogenetic comparative biology. In either case, it can be beneficial to consider and compare both genomic (such as DNA sequence) data and paleontological (such as fossil record) data, especially in regards to estimating the timing of divergence events and establishing geological time scales.
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