In estimates of population genetic diversity based on allozyme heterozygosity, some enzymes are regularly more variable than others. Evolutionary theory suggests that functionally less important molecules, or parts of molecules, evolve more rapidly than more important ones; the latter enzymes should then theoretically be less polymorphic. In this paper I review most of the published papers on allozyme variability in southern African mammals, and correlate heterozygosity values with enzyme quaternary structure and the perceived importance of enzymes. Results provide support for the hypothesis of a linkage between enzyme quaternary structure and diversity. No association between enzyme function and heterogeneity was, however, observed.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1