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Heteroplasmy incidence in mitochondrial DNA In humans, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is predominantly maternally inherited. mtDNA is under selection to prevent heteroplasmy—the transmission of multiple genetic variants into the next generation. Wei et al. explored human mtDNA sequences to determine mtDNA genome structure, selection, and transmission. Whole-genome sequencing revealed that about 45% of individuals carry heteroplasmic mtDNA sequences at levels greater than 1% of their total mtDNA. Furthermore, studies of more than 1500 mother-offspring pairs indicated that the female line selected which mtDNA variants were passed on to children. This effect was influenced by the mother's nuclear genetic background. Thus, mtDNA is under selection at specific loci in the human germ line. Science , this issue p. eaau6520

Original publication

DOI

10.1126/science.aau6520

Type

Journal article

Journal

Science

Publisher

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Publication Date

24/05/2019

Volume

364