The Role of Mitochondria in Eukayrogenesis

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Genetics Evolution and Environment


The formation of the eukaryotic cell represents an evolutionary oddity. An important step in the formation of the first eukaryote was the endosymbiosis between two prokaryotic cells forming an endosymbiotic relationship which resulted in the formation of an organelle (organellogenesis). It is the only known occurrence in evolutionary history. This event enabled the first eukaryotes to enlarge their genome size, increase in biological and cellular complexity, and become the only organisms to explore complex morphological space. However, the genetic and energetic factors responsible for enabling and destabilising endosymbiotic relationships at the origin of eukaryotes remain largely unexplored. This PhD will use mathematical modelling and population genetics to understand what factors limit, drive, and maintain endosymbiotic events. In doing so it will provide a crucial understanding to a major transition in evolution which is vital to understanding the origin of complex life.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/S007229/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2027
2547087 Studentship NE/S007229/1 01/10/2021 26/09/2025 Aidan Pierce