Harvard University - Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology

MATTHEW S MESELSON

Meselson
Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences

Email: msm@wjh.harvard.edu
Phone: 617-495-2264

Mail: BL 4048
The Biological Labs
16 Divinity Ave
Cambridge, MA  02138

The Harvard-Sussex Program
Members of the Meselson Lab
List of Publications from PubMed

Courses

MCB 142. Major Advances in Classical and Molecular Genetics
Catalog Number: 7948  View Course Website
Term: [Spring Term 2014-2015.]   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Matthew Meselson
Course Level: For Undergraduates and Graduates
Description: MCB 142 aims to develop an understanding of the conceptual development of classical and molecular genetics, starting with Mendel and Darwin. Course work includes critical reading of selected papers on the chromosomal and molecular basis of heredity, student presentations, group discussion, and submission of written answers to problem sets. Participation in class discussion of readings is essential. A substantial essay on a mutually agreed topic is due at end of reading period.
Note: This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the Core area requirement for Science B.
Prerequisite(s): Life Sciences 1b or equivalent and permission of the instructor.
Meetings: Tu., Th., 2-3:30
MCB 162. Major Advances in Understanding Heredity and Evolution
Catalog Number: 90518  View Course Website
Term: [Spring Term 2014-2015.]   Credit: Half course.
Instructors: Jim Mallet, Matthew Meselson
Course Level: For Undergraduates and Graduates
Description: MCB 162 aims to develop an understanding of the major conceptual and experimental advances to our present understanding of heredity and evolution, connecting today's science with its history and some of the personalities involved. Course work includes critical reading of original literature, student presentations, group discussion, and submission of written answers to weekly problem sets. Participation in class discussion of readings is essential. A substantial essay on a mutually agreed topic is due at the end of reading period.
Prerequisite(s): Life Sciences 1b or equivalent and permission of the instructor.
Meetings: Tu., Th., 2-3:30
MCB 312. Military and Arms Control Applications of Biology and Chemistry
Catalog Number: 2063  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term; Repeated Spring Term 2013-2014.   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Matthew Meselson
Course Level: Graduate Course
MCB 386. Molecular Evolution
Catalog Number: 763  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term; Repeated Spring Term 2013-2014.   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Matthew Meselson
Course Level: Graduate Course
(View all MCB Courses)

Research

Bdelloid Rotifers as a Model System for Investigating the Biology of Aging

We are employing rotifers of Class Bdelloidea, a group of small freshwater invertebrates, as a particularly advantageous model system for investigating the causes and control of aging -- the progressive increase in death rate with age that occurs in adult humans and in other animals. Characteristics that make bdelloid rotifers a promising model system for such studies include: (i) parthenogenetic reproduction, assuring genetic homogeneity of progeny; (ii) very low or negligible death rate until egg deposition is completed, followed by an abrupt onset of aging manifested as an exponentially increasing (Gompertzian) death rate; (iii) extreme resistance of pre-aging bdelloids to ionizing radiation (IR) and IR-induced protein oxidation, allowing tests of the relation between aging and oxidative damage of a kind not possible in other organisms; (iv) completion of all somatic cell division before hatching, obviating replicative senescence as a possible complicating factor; (v) ease of culturing and production of even-age populations; (vi) normal mean life span of only a few weeks; (vii) transparency, allowing the use of fluorescence-based assays of reactive oxidative species (ROS) and oxidized protein on individual live animals; and (viii) a soon to be completed annotated genome sequence, allowing us to examine changes in specific gene expression accompanying the onset and progression of aging.

Homologous genetic exchange in bdelloid rotifers

Rotifers of Class Bdelloidea are common freshwater invertebrates whose ancient origin and apparent lack of sexual reproduction have posed the principal challenge to the generally held view that genetic transfer between individuals within a species is essential for its long-term evolutionary success.  We have recently found, however, that bdelloid rotifers do engage in homologous genetic transfer within a species (or clade) and are attempting to characterize the mode of such exchange and the population structure within which it occurs.

We welcome applications to join our laboratory from qualified individuals committed to attacking and solving fundamental problems in biology. Applicants should send a CV and contact information for three persons who can provide strong recommendations.

Publications

Krisko, A., M. Leroy, M. Radman, M. Meselson. (2012). Extreme anti-oxidant protection against ionizing radiation in bdelloid rotifers. PNAS. (published online before print)

Hur, J., K. Van Doninck, M. Mandigo, M. Meselson. (2009). Degenerate Tetraploidy Was Established Before Bdelloid Rotifer Families Diverged. Molecular Biology and Evolution 26:375-383.

Gladyshev, E., M. Meselson (2008). Extraordinary resistance of Bdelloid rotifers to ionizing radiation. PNAS, 105: 5139-5144.

Gladyshev, E., M. Meselson, I. Arkhipova. (2008). Massive horizontal gene transfer in Bdelloid rotifers. Science 320: 1210-1213.

Mark Welch, D.B., J. Mark Welch, M. Meselson (2008). Evidence for degenerate triplody in Bdelloid rotifers. PNAS, 105: 5145-5149.

Meselson, M., D. Mark Welch (2007). Evolution. Stable heterozygosity? Science, 318: 202-203.

Hegreness, M., M. Meselson (2007). What did Sutton See? Thirty years of confusion over the chromosomal basis of Mendelism. Genetics 176: 1939-1944.

Gladyshev, E.A., M. Meselson and I.R. Arkhipova (2007). A deep-branching clade of retrovirus-like retrotransposons in bdelloid rotifers. Gene 390: 136-145.

Gladyshev, E.A. and I.R. Arkhipova (2007). Telomere-associated endonuclease-deficient Penelope-like retroelements in diverse eukaryotes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 104: 9352-9357.

Arkhipova, I.R. (2006). Distribution and phylogeny of Penelope-like elements in eukaryotes. Syst Biol. 55: 875-885.

Arkhipova, I.R. and M. Meselson (2005). Diverse DNA transposons in rotifers of the class Bdelloidea. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 102: 11781-11786.

Arkhipova, I. and M. Meselson (2005). Deleterious transposable elements and the extinction of asexuals. Bioessays 27: 76-85.

Meselson, M. (2004). Explorations in the land of DNA and beyond. Nat Med. 10: 1034-1037.

Mark Welch D.B., M.P.Cummings, D.M Hillis and M. Meselson (2004). Divergent gene copies in the asexual class Bdelloidea (Rotifera) separated before the bdelloid radiation or within bdelloid families. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 101: 1622-1625.

Mark Welch J.L., D.B. Mark Welch and M.Meselson (2004). Cytogenetic evidence for asexual evolution of bdelloid rotifers. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 101: 1618-1621.

Meselson M. (2003). Interview with Matthew Meselson. Bioessays 12: 1236-46.

Mark Welch D.B. and M. Meselson (2003) Oocyte nuclear DNA content and GC proportion in rotifers of the anciently asexsual Class Bdelloidea. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 79: 85-91.

Arkhipova, I. and H. G. Morrison (2001). Three retrotransposon families in the genome of Giardia lamblia: Two telomeric, one dead. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci (USA) 98: 14497-14502.

Mark Welch, D. and M. Meselson. (2001). Rates of nucleotide substitution in sexual and anciently asexual rotifers. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci (USA) 98: 6720-6724.

Mark Welch, D. and M. Meselson.(2001). A survey of introns in three genes of rotifers. Hydrobiologia 446/447: 333-336.

Mark Welch, D. (2000). Evidence from a protein-coding gene that acanthocephalans are rotifers. Invertebrate Biology 119: 17-26.

Arkhipova, I. and M. Meselson. (2000). Transposable elements in sexual and ancient asexual taxa. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 97: 14473-14477.

Mark Welch, D. and M. Meselson. (2000). Evidence for the evolution of bdelloid rotifers without sexual recombination or genetic exchange. Science 288: 1211-1215.

Mark Welch, J. and M. Meselson. (1998). Karyotypes of bdelloid rotifers from three families. Hydrobiologia 387/388: 403 - 407.

updated: 04/22/2014