Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mitochondrial Genes Cause Nuclear Mischief

Date:
September 8, 2004
Source:
Public Library Of Science
Summary:
Transplanted mitochondrial genes have been faithfully doing their job under new management since they were first appropriated, probably hundreds of millions of years ago. But in the latest issue of PLoS Biology, Miria Ricchetti and colleagues show that the over 200 mitochondrial genetic fragments also integrated into the nuclear genome may not be quite so benign.

While the nucleus of a cell may be its command headquarters, mitochondria are equally vital--they are the power plants of the cell, and without them all cellular activity would quickly and irrevocably come to a halt. Testifying to their origins as once free-living bacteria, mitochondria have their own DNA, comprising 37 genes in humans on a single circular chromosome. However, most of the mitochondria's presumed ancestral genes have been taken into the cell's nucleus, where they are under the strict control of their host.

Related Articles


The transplanted mitochondrial genes have been faithfully doing their job under new management since they were first appropriated, probably hundreds of millions of years ago. But in this issue, Miria Ricchetti and colleagues show that the over 200 mitochondrial genetic fragments also integrated into the nuclear genome may not be quite so benign. They have continued to invade the human genome, even into the present day, and a large proportion of them take up residence within nuclear genes, possibly disrupting them and causing human diseases. Scanning the entire human genome, Ricchetti and colleagues found a total of 211 nuclear sequences of mitochondrial origin (NUMTs). Of these, they selected 42, which appeared to be the most recent integrations, for detailed study. Among several important observations, they found that these NUMTs were much less likely to be found in non-coding "junk" DNA and much more likely to insert themselves within highly active genes. Such insertions can cause disease, as shown by the recent discovery of a hemophilia patient with a NUMT interrupting his clotting factor gene. Much remains to be learned about the functional and temporal dynamics of NUMT insertions, but their potential for harm suggests that many NUMTS, unlike much of the rest of the flotsam that litters our genome, may be selected against quickly. Combined with their differential distribution among human ethnic groups, this may make them valuable markers for tracking both long- and short-term trends in human evolution and migration. Citation: Ricchetti M, et al. (2004) Continued Colonization of the Human Genome by Mitochondrial DNA. PLoS Biol 2 (9): e273. The published article will be accessible to your readers at:http://plosbiology.org/plosonline/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0020273


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library Of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library Of Science. "Mitochondrial Genes Cause Nuclear Mischief." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040907082844.htm>.
Public Library Of Science. (2004, September 8). Mitochondrial Genes Cause Nuclear Mischief. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040907082844.htm
Public Library Of Science. "Mitochondrial Genes Cause Nuclear Mischief." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040907082844.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Hundreds of snakes, disturbed by a construction project, were relocated to a wildlife rescue association in Canada. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) If a doctor advises you to remove gluten from your diet, you could get a tax deduction on the amount you spend on gluten-free foods. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Buzz60 (Mar. 2, 2015) Zookeepers at the Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh, Australia decided to take some of their favorite animal photos and recreate them by posing just like the animals. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heavy Toll as Australian Farmers Struggle Through Drought

Heavy Toll as Australian Farmers Struggle Through Drought

AFP (Mar. 2, 2015) Mounting debts, despair and forced repossessions are taking a heavy toll on farmers in parts of Australia suffering from its worst drought in 100 years. Duration: 02:16 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins