mtDNA Evolution

 The last few years has seen the gradual growth of a scientific revolution with regards to our understanding of the evolution of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The traditional view that sequence variation within the mitochondrial genome is neutral is being replaced by one where mtDNA polymorphism and evolution results from natural selection. Our research is aimed at generating an understanding of selection on mitochondrial genes and the important consequences that this might have for the evolution of life histories and for organismal metabolism. We strive to consider both sex-specific selection and genetic interactions and conflict between mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Mitonuclear conflict derives from the fact that males are a genetic dead-end for mtDNA: there is effectively no natural selection on mtDNA in males (a fact sometimes referred to as “the mother’s curse”). We use insects as model systems, and our genomic efforts are embedded within the SciLifeLab and we work in close collaboration with WABI.



Selected publications


Kazancıoğlu, E. Arnqvist, G. (2013) The maintenance of mitochondrial genetic variation by negative frequency-dependent selection. Ecology Letters DOI: 10.1111/ele.12195


Arnqvist, G., Dowling, D. K., Eady, P., Gay, L., Tregenza, T., Tuda, M. and Hosken, D. J. (2010) The geneteic architecture of metabolic rate: environment specific epistasis between mitochondrial and nuclear genes in an insect. Evolution 64:3354-3363.


Dowling, D. K., Meerupati, T. and Arnqvist, G. (2010) Cyto-nuclear interactions and the economics of mating in seed beetles. American Naturalist 176:131-140.


Bilde, T., Foged, A., Schilling, N. and Arnqvist G (2009) Postmating sexual selection favors males that sire offspring with low fitness. Science 324:1705-1706.


Dowling, D. K., Friberg, U. Hailer, F. and Arnqvist, G. (2007) Intergenomic epistasis for fitness: within-population interactions between cytoplasmic and nuclear genes in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 175:235-244.