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Richard A. Collins, Ph.D.


Department of Molecular Genetics

University of Toronto


Research Summary.


Mitochondria and plasmids.

         Hundreds of mitochondrially-inherited diseases have been described over the past few decades. Unfortunately, unlike with nuclear genes, there are currently no molecular genetic approaches to manipulating the mitochondrial genome to allow the study and eventual treatment of diseases due to mutations in mitochondrial DNA.

          While studying a naturally-occurring mitochondrial plasmid in Neurospora (a well-established model organism for genetic and biochemical research), we discovered that the plasmid, called VS, could move from donor to recipient mitochondria. This raised the exciting possibility that VS might be able to serve as a vector for genetic engineering of the mitochondrial genome.

        We are currently investigating how the plasmid naturally moves between mitochondria, what it interacts with in the cell, and whether plasmid DNA or RNA can be modified and delivered to mitochondria inside cells.


Click here for a link to our previous work on ribozymes.


Dr. Collins curriculum vitae