Mitochondrial DNA: a closer look

The DNA found in mitochondria, the energy-producing organelles of cells, is often analyzed to trace evolutionary pathways. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has a high "substitution" or mutation rate, compared with other sites in our genome. mtDNA is transmitted only from mother to child, and can be inherited intact over thousands of generations. Mutations in the mtDNA sequence can be used to reconstruct the maternal lineage of populations.

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  • ID: 15978
  • Source: DNALC.DNAi

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15979. A mitochondrial DNA sequence

Human mitochondrial DNA is 16,569 base pairs in length.

  • ID: 15978
  • Type: animation
  • Source: DNAi

15977. Maternal inheritance

Unlike nuclear DNA, mtDNA is  inherited solely from the mother. (Mitochondria are predominantly from the mother’s egg and not from the father’s sperm.) Therefore, mtDNA sequences or orders of nucleotides generally remain constant over many generation

  • ID: 15978
  • Type: animation
  • Source: DNAi

15178. Mitochondrial DNA and the molecular clock, Douglas Wallace

Geneticist Douglas Wallace explains a method of mapping a population's history using the mutations accumulated by its members.

  • ID: 15978
  • Type: animation
  • Source: DNAi

15418. Mitochondrial DNA, Matt Ridley

Matt Ridley talks about Mitochondrial DNA.

  • ID: 15978
  • Type: animation
  • Source: DNAi

16655. Higher cells incorporate an ancient chromosome.

DNAFTB Problem 30: Trace mitochondria through Queen Victoria's decendants and solve the mystery of the Romanovs.

  • ID: 15978
  • Type: animation
  • Source: DNALC.DNAFTB

15611. mtDNA / Y chromosome pedigree, animated image

A pedigree illustrating maternal inheritance of mtDNA and paternal inheritance of the Y chromosome.

  • ID: 15978
  • Type: animation
  • Source: DNAi

15181. Mitochondrial DNA and female lineages, Douglas Wallace

Mitochondrial DNA research pioneer Douglas Wallace speaks about mitochondrial DNA and female lineages

  • ID: 15978
  • Type: animation
  • Source: DNAi

15610. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) human family tree

This illustration shows the two major mitochondrial DNA lineages. The lower branch includes only African populations. The upper branch has both African and non-African members.

  • ID: 15978
  • Type: animation
  • Source: DNAi

15975. Human and mtDNA variation

When comparing Neandertal and human mtDNA, researchers found that the differences between the sequences put Neandertals outside the range of variation of modern humans.

  • ID: 15978
  • Type: animation
  • Source: DNAi

15976. Neandertal and human (mtDNA)

When comparing Neandertal and human mtDNA, researchers found that the differences between the sequences put Neandertals outside the range of variation of modern humans.

  • ID: 15978
  • Type: animation
  • Source: DNAi