We are interested in the origin, biological significance, and molecular mechanisms of non-Mendelian genetics.
Non-Mendelian genetics refers to the inheritance of the mitochondrial and plastid genomes. It is widely held that these genomes are transmitted in eukaryotes through a uniparental (maternal) lineage. However, it is not clear why the transmission should be uniparental. Why must the genes in a cell be inherited in different ways (i.e., in a Mendelian manner for nuclear genes and a non-Mendelian manner for cytoplasmic genes)? How does non-Mendelian genetics contribute to the origin and evolution of eukaryotes? Our group is attempting to answer these fundamental questions using various experimental models.
Although non-Mendelian genetics were first discovered nearly 100 years ago, the molecular regulation for this phenomenon is unclear. Chemical and physical mutagenesis has not yielded any genetic mutations in model plants, implying that the regulatory mechanism is complex. We are trying to reveal the molecular background using recently developed techniques, such as proteomics.
The sexual reproduction of plants is a complicated procedure that is closely related to non-Mendelian genetics. Our group also focuses on the events of cell differentiation and fertilization in sexual plant reproduction.