Mitochondrial DNA Heteroplasmy and Purifying Selection in the Mammalian Female Germ Line.

23 Feb 2018

Inherited mutations in the mitochondrial (mt)DNA are a major cause of human disease, with approximately 1 in 5000 people affected by one of the hundreds of identified pathogenic mtDNA point mutations or deletions. Due to the severe, and often untreatable, symptoms of many mitochondrial diseases, identifying how these mutations are inherited from one generation to the next has been an area of intense research in recent years. Despite large advances in our understanding of this complex process, many questions remain unanswered, with one of the most hotly debated being whether or not purifying selection acts against pathogenic mutations during germline development.