Scientists discover greater rates of mitochondrial mutations in children born to older mothers

mitochondria-maternal-age

A  normal mitochondria (left) contain distinctive folds known as cristae, but these folds are lost in damaged or dysfunctional mitochondria (right).

A team of Penn State scientists have discovered a “maternal age effect” that could be used to predict the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations in maternal egg cells — and the transmission of these mutations to children — could provide valuable insights for genetic counseling. These mutations cause more than 200 diseases and contribute to others such as diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

 

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