Extreme Mutation Rate Variation and the Evolution of Plant Mitochondrial Genomes

Mitochondrial mutation rates vary wildly across the tree of life. Plants typically exhibit some of the very slowest mitochondrial mutation rates, but some angiosperm lineages represent glaring exceptions, with 5000-fold variation in rates observed across this group. I will present the results of our recent efforts to understand the mechanisms responsible for extremely faithful mitochondrial DNA transmission in most plant species, using Arabidopsis as a model, as well as for the recent accelerations that have occurred within other lineages.