Mitochondrial DNA

I was thinking about some discussion back awhile, about a stronger contribution of various traits to seedlings from either the seed parent or the pollen parent. People have mentioned that they thought it more common that certain traits seem to be passed on via one or the other. Does anyone know if studies have been done with mitochondrial DNA in roses and if perhaps this might explain it?

I’m not aware of any studies of mitochondrial DNA in roses. The number of genes in mitochondrial DNA is a very small fraction of the number of genes in chromosomal DNA. Mitochondrial genes all have to do with energy production in the cell, so I wouldn’t expect to see a lot of traits influenced by them. DNA testing technology is progressing amazingly fast, and this kind of question is becoming much easier to answer. I just heard of a lab where you can send a cheek swab, and they will completely sequence your mitochondrial DNA for $895. That may sound expensive and not very useful, but it is an amazing leap in technology from five years ago.

That is a great question. THe main thing limiting this research I believe is the fact that there is probably very little variation among modern roses for mitochondrial DNA. There are exceptions, but generally the mitochondria is passed through the female. So many modern hybrid teas and such for instance can be traced on the female side back to ‘Charlotte Armstrong’. The mitochondrial DNA doesn’t or theoretially doesn’t change much over time and may be pretty similar or the same as the originating species that it is traced back to. The damask hybrids have the musk rose mitochondria if I remember right from a paper that looked into their origin using molecular markers. If we can somehow introduce mitochondria from different rose species into common modern roses and through multiplication and stabilization of mitochondria isolate lines from the same rose having the same nuclear DNA, but different mitochondria sources we can really compare and answer this question. Until we characterize the mitochondrial DNA of modern roses and be able to control the nuclear DNA and just alter the mitochondrial DNA I don’t know how we can really understand the phenotypic effects of variable mitochondria. In addition, chloroplasts have their own DNA as well.



It’s so sad we know so little, isn’t it?

Sometimes I wish I could fast forward myself a few hundred years. (Of course, other times I’m glad I can’t!)

By the way Jim, have you heard about the Genographic Project? For about 100 bucks, they (IBM and National Geographic) will trace your family’s migration back to the beginning of man.

Too cool.


Yes, I’ve already sent in my DNA sample. They look at mitochondrial DNA for women, and Y chromosome DNA for men, so they will tell you about your maternal line if you are female, and your paternal line if you are male.

I sent mine in also. It’s a shame they don’t tell men both sides since they could. I guess they don’t want to discriminate. :slight_smile: