Department of Biological Sciences
Mitochondrial-Nuclear Epistasis: Are your genomes compatible?
March 3rd, 2014
Academic Building A G008, 5:00 PM
Mitochondria are essential organelles whose roles in energy metabolism, cell signaling, and small molecule homeostasis affect virtually every aspect of health. Efficient mitochondrial functions require physical interactions between components of both mitochondrial and nuclear genomes. In a population, where different variants of both genomes exist, it is likely that certain genome combinations will be more efficient than others. Do genetic interactions between nuclear and mitochondrial genomes affect phenotypic variation in any appreciable way? How does this affect the evolution of both genomes? In this presentation, I will share our work using Saccharomyces yeasts to show how mt-n interactions affect phenotypic variance and how we can use the environment to manipulate those interactions. I’ll show how these interactions have affected the evolution of yeasts and provided mechanisms for speciation events. I’ll try to explain how epistasis may explain complex trait phenotypes and disease presentation in humans, and how it can explain the persistence of deleterious alleles.
I am fascinated by the biological complexity of the cell’s “powerhouse”, the mitochondria. My research uses yeasts to explore functional aspects of mitochondrial genetics. I am currently an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Binghamton University. My formal training includes degrees in Chemistry (B.A.) from Smith College, and Microbiology (Ph.D.) from the University of Georgia, and postdoctoral work in the Molecular Biology and Genetics Department at Cornell University. I graciously acknowledge EvoS for supporting the preliminary research that led to my current financial support from the National Institute of Health.
Reading will be posted to the EvoS blackboard group. Anyone with a Binghamton University email address can request to be added to the blackboard group by emailing EvoS[at]binghamton[dot]edu.
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