The Challenge of Monitoring Biodiversity

Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:12:04 +0000

a guest blog by Charlie Outhwaite, written for the 2015 Write About Research Competition. Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is a complex term encompassing the variety of life found on Earth. It incorporates not only differences between species but within species themselves and of the environments and ecosystems where they are found. We as humans benefit […]

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16 April 2013

GEE/CEE Seminar on mitochondria, hybrid breakdown and the origin of species


"Consequences of rapid mtDNA evolution: compensatory coadaptation, hybrid breakdown and speciation"


Speaker:

Ron Burton, Professor of Marine Biology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego
Date & Time:
Wednesday, 17 April at 5pm
Venue: Medical Sciences AV Hill Lecture Theatre (map)
Host: Nick Lane (Ext 31385)


Abstract:

Despite its small size and limited gene content, the rapid evolution of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) has significant implications for the evolution of animal populations.  Aerobic metabolism requires all 13 of the mtDNA-encoded proteins in addition to >70 nuclear proteins.  In addition,  ~100 additional nuclear proteins are required for the transcription and translation of the mtDNA and must be imported into the mitochondria.  Consequently, there are many interactions between mtDNA and nucDNA that favor extensive intergenomic coadaptation.  When genetically divergent populations hybridize, coadaptation can be disrupted and lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and reduced fitness (hybrid breakdown). Interpopulation crosses between populations of the copepod Tigriopus californicus provide a good example of this scenario, as hybrid breakdown is due, in large measure, to intergenomic interactions affecting mitochondrial function (manifested in reduced ATP production and increased oxidative damage).  Recent work using transcriptomic analyses of both hybrid breakdown and population adaptation to thermal stress in Tigriopus will also be briefly discussed.

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