Mitochondrial Non‐Mendelian Inheritance: Evolutionary Origin and Consequences


Alleles of mitochondrial genes segregate during vegetative (mitotic) divisions as a consequence of the random manner in which mitochondrial genomes are replicated and partitioned at cell division. This is probably an evolutionary relic of their endosymbiotic origin. Uniparental inheritance of mitochondrial genes in humans is a result of oogamy and degradation of paternal mitochondria in the egg, but different mechanisms have evolved in other organisms.

Keywords: uniparental inheritance; maternal inheritance; vegetative segregation; inheritance of mitochondrial genes; heteroplasmy


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Birky, C William(Sep 2006) Mitochondrial Non‐Mendelian Inheritance: Evolutionary Origin and Consequences. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0006129]