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When Mitochondria Mutate

Mutations in the mitochondrion’s 37 genes point clearly to certain rare disorders.

By Rachael Moeller Gorman // Summer 2007
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Sections of nuclear DNA dictate certain mitochondrial functions. When these sections mutate (in other words, when the dna sequence within a gene is altered), mitochondria can malfunction, though the role of these malfunctions in various diseases—such as Parkinson’s and diabetes—remains murky. But mutations in the mitochondrion’s own 37 genes point more clearly to certain rare disorders.

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