Organellar Genome Evolution

My recent and upcoming publications on mitochondrial and chloroplast genomes demonstrate previously unknown variation in organellar genome structure and content and provide insights into the evolutionary processes that shape these genomes. For example, we found evidence for numerous architectural rearrangements even among genomes of close relatives, previously unknown intron diversity, and in one case even the usage of an unprecedented stop codon.


By showing corresponding blocks of genes in the same color, the diagram allows us to compare the gene order among genomes.

The upper portion of the diagram shows mitochondrial genomes of two algal species that have very different gene orders, implying that several structural genomic rearrangements occurred in their evolutionary history.

The bottom portion shows two different species, which have an identical gene order in their mitochondrial genomes.


There is still a lot to be learned about the diversity of algal organellar genomes. I will soon be looking for students to work with me on characterizing more algal genomes – a great opportunity to learn a variety of bioinformatic methods!