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The need for high-quality oocyte mitochondria at extreme ploidy dictates mammalian germline development

Colnaghi, M; Pomiankowski, A; Lane, N; (2021) The need for high-quality oocyte mitochondria at extreme ploidy dictates mammalian germline development. eLife , 10 , Article e69344. 10.7554/eLife.69344. Green open access

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Abstract

Selection against deleterious mitochondrial mutations is facilitated by germline processes, lowering the risk of genetic diseases. How selection works is disputed: experimental data are conflicting and previous modelling work has not clarified the issues. Here we develop computational and evolutionary models that compare the outcome of selection at the level of individuals, cells and mitochondria. Using realistic de novo mutation rates and germline development parameters from mouse and humans, the evolutionary model predicts the observed prevalence of mitochondrial mutations and diseases in human populations. We show the importance of organelle-level selection, seen in the selective pooling of mitochondria into the Balbiani body, in achieving high-quality mitochondria at extreme ploidy in mature oocytes. Alternative mechanisms debated in the literature, bottlenecks and follicular atresia, are unlikely to account for the clinical data, because neither process effectively eliminates mitochondrial mutations under realistic conditions. Our findings explain the major features of female germline architecture, notably the longstanding paradox of over-proliferation of primordial germ cells followed by massive loss. The near-universality of these processes across animal taxa makes sense in light of the need to maintain mitochondrial quality at extreme ploidy in mature oocytes, in the absence of sex and recombination.

Type: Article
Title: The need for high-quality oocyte mitochondria at extreme ploidy dictates mammalian germline development
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.7554/eLife.69344
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.69344
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: evolutionary biology, none
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10131910
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