Abstracts (first author)
Examining the link between genotype and phentype: mitochondrial gene expression levels across distinct haplotypes, sexes, and ages
Mitochondria are key components of cellular metabolic processing, providing most of the cellular energy required for survival. The small set of genes located within the mitochondria has recently been the subject of much attention by evolutionary biologists, as a groundswell of studies have documented that allelic variance within the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) often confers modifications to the phenotype. Mitochondria have been shown to play an active role in the process of ageing, as already proposed by Harman in 1972, and recent studies suggest that some of this allelic variance is even male-specific. Here we use the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster as a model to advance our understanding of the link between the mitochondrial genotype and phenotype. We sequenced full mitochondrial genomes 13 lines and examine genotype-specific transcriptional profiles of 10 (out of 13) mitochondrial key genes on an isogenic nuclear background. Gene expression patterns are specifically examined for males and females and across age classes. Our goal is to understand the elusive mechanisms that mediate mitochondrially-encoded effects on the phenotype, and to home in on the candidate mutations that cause these effects.