It has long been taught in biology, that Mitochondria is inherited from mothers, as a rule.

Well, this theory may about to be change.

Scientists have found proofs of Mitochondrial DNA Inheritance from fathers in 3 unrelated families.

In a recent research published in journal PNAS, on November 26, 2018, scientists have found 17 individuals in 3 unrelated families who have inherited mitochondria from their fathers. Heteroplasmy levels varied from 24% to as high as 70%.

Mitochondria is the termed as power house of the cell. Its main function is to generate energy that keep the cell working. It has its own DNA called as Mitochondrial DNA, with separate genes and working machinery.

Till date, it has been well established that mitochondria is passed on from mother to children in all mammals and same has been fairly established in humans as well.

What could it mean for health industry?

Mitochondrial Genome is unique in itself and therefore, many human health conditions have been associated with changes in mitochondrial properties.

It includes lot of genetic hereditary conditions arising out of genetic changes in Mitochondrial DNA. Till date, many health conditions, require determining the inheritance pattern of mitochondrial genome and at times, mother’s mitochondrial genome is also analyzed to rule out any hereditary genetic conditions. It also affects the Heteroplasmy levels, which is the percentage of mitochondria with different genetic codes.

With this research, there might be a shift in the way doctors treat a suspected mitochondrial disorder. It will now become important to screen the paternal lineage as well for inheritance of suspected diseases

This research seems to put new hope into the mind of clinicians alike. It may pave way for new strategies to identify new way of mitochondrial disorders progression and ultimately may help in development of new therapeutic procedures.

All we have to do is wait and watch.

Source: PNAS (Biparental Inheritance of Mitochondrial DNA in Humans)

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