Genetics, Genomics & Evolution
Mitochondria contain machinery of the electron transport chain that generate most of the energy for the cell. In addition to nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins, mitochondria contain a separate small, circular genome, densely packed with genes necessary to maintain mitochondrial function. The accumulation of mutations in mitochondrial DNA has been associated with aging and diseases of the elderly, including neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. I am using Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism to study the cellular factors that influence the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations.