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Sex and the mitochondrion

March 9, 2016

Mitochondrial DNA is the only genetic inheritance we get from one parent, our mothers. Over evolutionary history, most mitochondrial genes have migrated to the cell nucleus, where they enjoy the advantage of sexual recombination, and are free from the more hostile environment of the mitochondrion itself, full of reactive molecules. But some genes still are retained there. Why? A British biologist and a mathematician — what a pairing! — may have found an answer. Writing software to examine mitochondrial genomes of thousands of species, they found the genes that stay in the mitocondrion are the ones that produce complex proteins for its internal structure. (Cite.)

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