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Mitochondrial DNA clonality in the dock: can surveillance swing the case?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Joanna Elson, Professor Robert Lightowlers


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Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a favoured tool of evolutionary biologists because its high mutation rate generates enough signal to make inferences about population history over short time frames. Furthermore, mtDNA inheritance is clonal, being transmitted only through the maternal line. This enables evolutionary histories to be assembled without the complexities introduced by biparental recombination. Recently, a single case of human biparental inheritance has been reported. Given this, and the role supposed clonal inheritance has had in shaping our knowledge of human population history, it is essential to establish a method for identifying any recombinant mtDNA molecules in our population. A reliable surveillance mechanism would either maintain our confidence in clonal inheritance or indicate the inaccuracy of our inferences. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Elson JL, Lightowlers RN

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Trends in Genetics

Year: 2006

Volume: 22

Issue: 11

Pages: 603-607

ISSN (print): 0168-9525

ISSN (electronic): 1362-4555

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd.


DOI: 10.1016/j.tig.2006.09.004


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Funder referenceFunder name
G90/63Medical Research Council