Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




David Roy Smith


The study of organelles helped forge theories of genome evolution because of their unconventional genomes and gene expression regimes. The organelle genomics field (~35 years old) has seen the development of next generation sequencing (NGS) techniques and the consequent skyrocketing of genomic and transcriptomic data. However, these data are being underused in the studies of organelle genome transcription. My thesis investigates how NGS has affected the field of organelle genomics at both the DNA and RNA levels. First, I demonstrate that although organelle genomes are being sequenced as never before, they are un-characterized as they are published mostly as “organelle genome reports”. Then, I show that publicly available RNA-sequencing data represent an untapped datasource to study organelle genome transcription. I uncover the widespread pervasive transcription of organelle genomes across eukaryotes and speculate that this mechanism might have influenced the evolution of land plant terrestrialization and trophic mode determination in mixotrophs.