Human mitochondrial genetics  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Human mitochondrial genetics is the study of the genetics of the DNA contained in human mitochondria. Mitochondria are small structures in cells that generate energy for the cell to use, and are hence referred to as the "powerhouses" of the cell.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is not transmitted through nuclear DNA (nDNA). In humans, as in most multicellular organisms, mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother's ovum.

Mitochondrial inheritance is therefore non-Mendelian, as Mendelian inheritance presumes that half the genetic material of a fertilized egg (zygote) derives from each parent.

Eighty percent of mitochondrial DNA codes for functional mitochondrial proteins, and therefore most mitochondrial DNA mutations lead to functional problems, which may be manifested as muscle disorders (myopathies).

Understanding the genetic mutations that affect mitochondria can help us to understand the inner workings of cells and organisms, as well as helping to suggest methods for successful therapeutic tissue and organ cloning, and to treatments or possibly cures for many devastating muscular disorders.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Human mitochondrial genetics" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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