• Characterization of mitochondrial genomes in bivalve species with doubly uniparental inheritance of mitochondria
  • Guerra, Davide <1986>


  • BIO/05 Zoologia


  • Many bivalve species possess two distinct mtDNA lineages, called F and M, respectively inherited maternally and paternally: this system is called doubly uniparental inheritance (DUI). The main experimental project of my PhD was the quantification of the two mtDNAs during the development of the DUI species Ruditapes philippinarum, from early embryos to sub-adults, using Real-Time qPCR. I identified the time interval in which M mtDNA is lost from female individuals, while it is retained in males (which are heteroplasmic through all of their life cycle). The results also suggested absence of mtDNA replication during early embryogenesis, a process constituting a bottleneck that highly reduces the copy number of mtDNA molecules in cells of developing larvae. In males this bottleneck may produce cells homoplasmic for M mtDNA, and could be considered as a first step of the segregation of M in the male germ line. Another finding was the characterization, in young clams approaching the first reproductive season, of a significant boost in copy number of F mtDNA in females and of M in males. Given the age of animals in which this mtDNA-specific growth was observed, the finding could probably be the outcome of the first round of gonads and gametes production. Other lines of research included the characterization of the unassigned regions in mt genomes of DUI bivalves. These regions can harbor signals involved in the control of replication and/or transcription of the mtDNA molecule, as well as additional open reading frames (ORFs) not related to oxidative phosphorylation. These features in DUI species could be associated to the maintenance of separate inheritance routes for the two mtDNAs. Additional ORFs are also found in other animal mt genomes: I summarized the presence of gene duplications as a co-author in a review focusing on animal mt genomes with unusual gene content.


  • 2015-05-12


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Guerra, Davide (2015) Characterization of mitochondrial genomes in bivalve species with doubly uniparental inheritance of mitochondria, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biodiversità ed evoluzione , 27 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6895.