The persistence of mtDNA to encode a small subset of mitochondrial proteins reflects the selective advantage of co-location of key respiratory chain subunit genes with their gene products. The disadvantage of this co-location is exposure of mtDNA to mutagenic ROS (reactive oxygen species), which are by-products of aerobic respiration. The resulting ‘vicious circle’ of mitochondrial mutation has been proposed to underlie aging and its associated degenerative diseases. Recent evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that oocyte mitochondria escape the aging process by acting as quiescent genetic templates, transcriptionally and bioenergetically repressed. Transmission of unexpressed mtDNA in the female germline is considered as a reason for the existence of separate sexes, i.e. male and female. Maternal inheritance then circumvents incremental accumulation of age-related disease in each new generation.
Conference Article| September 23 2013
Mitochondrial genome function and maternal inheritance
John F. Allen;
John F. Allen 1
*School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, U.K.
†Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, U.K.
1To whom correspondence should be addressed (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
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John F. Allen, Wilson B.M. de Paula; Mitochondrial genome function and maternal inheritance. Biochem Soc Trans 1 October 2013; 41 (5): 1298–1304. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BST20130106
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