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The mitochondrial genome, a growing interest inside an organelle

Authors Crimi M, Rigolio R

Published 7 March 2008 Volume 2008:3(1) Pages 51—57


Marco Crimi1, Roberta Rigolio2

1National Institute of Molecular Genetics (INGM), Functional Genomics Unit, Milan, Italy; 2Department of Neurosciences and Biomedical Technologies, University of Milan Bicocca, Monza, Italy

Abstract: Mitochondria are semi-autonomously reproductive organelles within eukaryotic cells carrying their own genetic material, called the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA). Until some years ago, mtDNA had primarily been used as a tool in population genetics. As scientists began associating mtDNA mutations with dozens of mysterious disorders, as well as the aging process and a variety of chronic degenerative diseases, it became increasingly evident that the information contained in this genome had substantial potential applications to improve human health. Today, mitochondria research covers a wide range of disciplines, including clinical medicine, biochemistry, genetics, molecular cell biology, bioinformatics, plant sciences and physiology. The present review intends to present a summary of the most exiting fields of the mitochondrial research bringing together several contributes in terms of original prospective and future applications.

Keywords: mtDNA, heteroplasmy, molecular diagnostics, mitochondriopathies, nanogenomics

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