Recorded event: Preparing for the next generation: how maternal information passes to progeny

Date & time

Whitehead Institute
455 Main Street Cambridge,
02130 MA


When we think about genetic inheritance in reproduction, we usually focus on the equal contributions of maternal and paternal genomes. But the egg cell contributes more than just its genome to an embryo: It transfers unique information in its cytoplasmic organelles and mitochondria. Such organelle inheritance is critical for embryonic development of both the immediate offspring and all subsequent generations. This webinar will explain some of the non-genomic mechanisms for the transfer of maternal information to the next generation — and how that information uniquely shapes inheritance. It will focus particularly on how egg cells make sure that healthy mitochondria — which are best known for highly efficient energy production but also play a role in many other cellular processes — are passed to the next generation. That's a unique challenge because while mitochondria contain their own DNA, they lack the known quality-control mechanisms that protect nuclear DNA from damage.