Brandon Endo L&S Sciences
The origin and evolution of duplicated mitochondrial genes in the parthenogenic gecko, Heteronotia binoei
There are forms of the gecko species, Heteronotia binoei, that reproduce sexually that gave rise to forms that reproduce asexually through the process of parthenogenesis. Parthenogens have sections of duplicated genes in their mitochondrial genome while sexual forms do not. My project is to sequence and compare the mitochondrial genes of the sexual and parthenogenic forms to characterize their evolution since their divergence. I will also compare duplicated gene copies to one another within the parthenogenic individuals to characterize evolution of each gene since the duplication event. Gene duplication and subsequent mutation may lead to gene rearrangements within the parthenogenic gecko. Gene rearrangements are found in many other animal species but a mechanism remains unclear. Heteronotia may provide valuable insight into this phenomenon.