This volume in the Mographs in Evolutionary Biology series addresses issues that are part of an emerging area of research loosely called mo- lecular evolution. Its practitioners include both molecular biologists cu- rious about the evolutionary implications of their data and evolutionary biologists pushing their analyses to the molecular level. The union of these fields of molecular and organismal biology has been turbulent at times, and, as shall be seen, this dialectic has led to some very serious challenges to long-held tions about the role of natural selection in evolution and the ecomy of geme organization in eukaryotes. As an inevitable outgrowth of molecular biology, molecular evolution is necessarily a young discipline, but it can already point proudly to two major discoveries. The first, is the molecular clock, a concept that has emerged from the analysis of at least four data sets-ami acid sequences, immulogic data, DNA renaturation studies, and, recently, analyses of DNA sequences. The reality of a strong stochastic component in the evolution of nucleotide sequences can longer be doubted, although the accuracy of the clock with regard to particular sequences and within particular groups of or- ganisms should be independently measured each time it is used. Never- theless, molecular clocks will assume increasingly important roles in phy- logenetic reconstructions, especially since the fossil record is so fragmentary. The second major discovery of molecular evolution has been the incredible complexity of the eukaryotic geme.