SEMINAR: Phenotypic consequences of mutation accumulations on mitochondria
|Phenotypic consequences of mutation accumulations on mitochondria : School of Human Sciences Seminar Series
Professor Dufresne France - Phenotypic consequences of mutation accumulations on mitochondria. Mitochondria are essential organelles that generate ATP necessary to sustain life via the oxidative phosphorylation. The mitochondrial genome is known to be sensitive to the accumulation of deleterious mutations due to its highly mutagenic environment. Yet we lack a complete understanding of the impact of spontaneous DNA mutations on heritable damages within the germ line and how these affect mitochondrial functions. Exposure to mutagenic environmental contaminants can accelerate mutation accumulation. However, little is known about how mutagenic compounds affect the scope and extent of the phenotypic effects of spontaneous mutations on the mitochondria.
In this talk, I will present our recent work on the effects of mutation accumulations (MA) on mitochondrial traits and fitness in the microinvertebrate, Daphnia pulex. We used lines of Daphnia that were bottlenecked every generation for 120 generations under mild copper and benign conditions. We compared life history traits, mtDNA copy number and mitochondrial respiration in bottlenecked Daphnia lines to those of control lines (Daphnia that were kept in large numbers for the same period of time). Our results are the first to empirically demonstrate the alleged sensitivity of mitochondria to mutational load and point at modulation of mtDNA content as an important mitigation mechanism of mutational impacts.
France Dufresne is a professor of genetics at the Université du Québec à Rimouski. She
obtained her Ph.D. in zoology from the university of Guelph. She held postdoctorate fellowships at the Université Laval and at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography (San Diego). She has major interests in genome size evolution, and more specifically in how increases in genome size through polyploidy affects adaptation to cold environments. Another major aspect of her studies is the evolution of sexual reproduction. She applies genetic and genomic tools to examine the evolutionary consequences of a lack of genetic recombination in her model system, Daphnia. Other areas of expertise in her laboratory include genetic connectivity and local adaptation in various marine invertebrate species and algae.
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