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Rare Findings Show Mitochondrial DNA Can Be Inherited From Dads

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Not all DNA is the same, and science has long held that not all kinds of DNA are passed down from both your mother and your father. But it looks like the time has come to rewrite the textbooks.

While most of our DNA resides within the nucleus of the cell, some of our genetic code is stored inside mitochondria, the so-called ‘powerhouse of the cell’.

The conventional view is this mitochondrial DNA (or mtDNA) is only inherited from mothers, but new evidence suggests that’s not the case at all.

A new study led by geneticist Taosheng Huang from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre shows human mitochondrial DNA can be paternally inherited, in a landmark case that started with the treatment of a sick four-year-old boy.




The child, who was showing signs of fatigue, muscle pain, and other symptoms, was evaluated by doctors, and tested to see if he had a mitochondrial disorder.

The reason Huang was so shocked was because the boy’s results showed a mix – called a heteroplasmy – in his mitochondrial DNA, which was made up of more then just maternal contributions.

While there’s evidence of paternal mtDNA transmission in other species, the existence of the phenomenon in humans has been debated, but has never before been demonstrated like this.

Be that as it may, they suggest their “clear and provocative” evidence should now initiate a broader assessment of the mtDNA possibilities, despite maternal transmission remaining the norm.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

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