Tracy M. Sonneborn Lecture Series

About the Lecture Series

Friends of the late Tracy M. Sonneborn established a lectureship in his memory in 1981. Support for this lecture has been provided by the Sonneborn Lecture Fund and the Department of Biology.

Abstract: Although many of the core aspects of the meiotic process are highly conserved, many of the proteins and structures that mediate meiosis are rapidly evolving. Two examples of that diversity are the proteins that comprise the central region of the synaptonemal complex (SC) and the Mtrm protein (a regulator of Polo kinase). Our discussion of the SC will focus both on the role of the very rapidly evolving transverse filament proteins C(3)G and Corolla in mediating assembly and structure as well as on a recently diverged family of E3 ligase proteins (Vilya, Narya, and Nenya), which mediate crossover formation. The consideration of the Mtrm protein will focus on the opportunity that specific mtrm mutant genotypes appear to play in allowing the transmission of newly arisen B chromosomes and, thus, in accelerating genome evolution. If a central theme can be crafted from the interweaving of these stories, it will be that meiosis (and many of the proteins that execute it) is surprisingly tolerant of genetic change, allowing the creation of new structural forms (the SC), novel means of executing critical processes like recombination (Vilya et al.), and even facilitating genome evolution. If time allows, balancers will be discussed.

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With precision, thoroughness, and infectious enthusiasm, Tracy Sonneborn also contributed unstintingly to teaching at Indiana University. In spite of the many attempts to entice him away, he remained loyal to IU, finding here the environment he thought was best. To honor his contributions to science and his outstanding career Tracy Sonneborn’s friends and colleagues initiated the Sonneborn Lectureship in 1981.

"Whatever the final outcome of studies of these phenomena, he must take his place among the most brilliant and devoted experimentalists in the history of biology and a true giant, like no other, in the field of protozoan research." John Preer

For questions about the Sonneborn Lecture Series, contact:

Kathy Wyss, Development Officer

Lecture Committee

Thomas Kaufman,
 Distinguished Professor
Soni Lacefield, Associate Professor
Sidney Shaw, 
Associate Professor