Research ArticleGENETICS

Mitochondrial DNA and temperature tolerance in lager yeasts

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Science Advances  30 Jan 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 1, eaav1869
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav1869


A growing body of research suggests that the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) is important for temperature adaptation. In the yeast genus Saccharomyces, species have diverged in temperature tolerance, driving their use in high- or low-temperature fermentations. Here, we experimentally test the role of mtDNA in temperature tolerance in synthetic and industrial hybrids (Saccharomyces cerevisiae × Saccharomyces eubayanus or Saccharomyces pastorianus), which cold-brew lager beer. We find that the relative temperature tolerances of hybrids correspond to the parent donating mtDNA, allowing us to modulate lager strain temperature preferences. The strong influence of mitotype on the temperature tolerance of otherwise identical hybrid strains provides support for the mitochondrial climactic adaptation hypothesis in yeasts and demonstrates how mitotype has influenced the world’s most commonly fermented beverage.

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