IISER Mohali, Knowledge city, Sector 81, SAS Nagar, Manauli PO 140306

Evolutionary biology of the mitochondrial genomes

Dr. Venkatesh Nagarajan-Radha, Postdoctoral Associate at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, Australia

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Location : Online
Abstract: Mitochondria descend from the endosymbiosis between an archaeon and an eubacterium two billion years ago. While most bacterial genes have moved to the nuclear genome, a small subset remained, becoming the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA). Given its pivotal role in energy conversion for eukaryotes, it is predicted that mtDNA is under strong purifying selection. Yet, in recent years, the functional significance of genetic variation in mtDNA has risen to prominence in evolutionary biology and biomedicine, challenging the traditional assumption that mtDNA is selectively neutral. Also, our understanding of the proximate mechanisms that link mitochondrial genetic variation to phenotype expression remains rudimentary. I will draw evidence from my research on diverse model systems, such as the vinegar fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, a unicellular protist Physarum polycephalum, a winged-mammal Taphozous melanopogon and an immortal fungus, Neurospora crassa and show that mitochondrial genetic variation affects phenotype expression and that such effects transpire through G×G, G×E and G×G×E interactions with the nuclear genotype and environment (e.g., diet and temperature) across eukaryotes. Thus, I will demonstrate how mtDNA, the once-considered silent evolutionary bystander, is at the forefront of eukaryotic trait evolution.

Meeting ID: 977 1925 8328
Passcode: 384278
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