Mitochondrial bioenergetics as a major motive force of speciation

Moran Gershoni, Alan R. Templeton, Dan Mishmar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial bioenergetics plays a key role in multiple basic cellular processes, such as energy production, nucleotide biosynthesis, and iron metabolism. It is an essential system for animals' life and death (apoptosis) and it is required for embryo development. This, in conjunction with its being subjected to adaptive processes in multiple species and its gene products being involved in the formation of reproductive barriers in animals, raises the possibility that mitochondrial bioenergetics could be a candidate genetic mechanism of speciation. Here, we discuss genetic and biochemical evidence for the possible involvement of this unique system, encoded by two genomes (the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes), that differ by an order of magnitude in their mutation rates in processes leading to speciation events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-650
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - 31 Jul 2009


  • Oxidative phosphorylation
  • Selection
  • Speciation
  • mtDNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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