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Mitochondrial DNA (sometimes called mtDNA or mDNA) is DNA that is found in the Mitochondria[1]. mDNA is usually inherited from the mother[2].

Hereditary traits in Eukaryotes can be determined by genes in the DNA of the Mitochondria. In humans, the Mitochondrial DNA contains 37 genes which code for 13 protein, 22 tRNAs and 2 rRNA molecules.[3][4].

Due to the function of Mitochondria, mutations of the MDNA can cause neuromuscular disorders. However, mitochondrial conditions are not always caused by mutations in the MDNA but can be down to mutations of the genes in the Nucleus of the cell that determine Mitochondrial function[5].


  1. What is mitochondrial DNA? - Genetics Home Reference. 2015. What is mitochondrial DNA? - Genetics Home Reference. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 20 October 2015].
  2. Mitochondrial inheritance. 2015. Mitochondrial inheritance. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 20 October 2015].
  3. Hartl,DL and Jones,EW. 2009. Chapter 16 - Mitochondrial DNA and Extranuclear Inheritance. Genetics analysis of genes and genomes 7th Edition. Pg 588.
  4. Anderson S, Bankier AT, Barrell BG, de Bruijn MHL, Coulson AR, Drouin J, Eperon IC, Nierlich DP, Roe BA, Sanger F, et al. Sequence and organization of the human mitochondrial genome. Nature. 1981;290(5806):457-465
  5. [2]
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