Mitochondrial intervention

Magnus Lynch mdl24 at cam.ac.uk
Wed Feb 23 11:42:48 EST 2000

It is thought that mitochondrial mutations caused by oxidative damage to
the mitochondrial genome are an important mechanism of aging. It is
proposed that certain of these mutations reduce the rate of free radical
production giving that mitochondrium a survival advantage within the
cell. Selection subsequently causes the mutant mitochondrial genome to
become the predominant species within that cell. [de Grey, A.D.N.J.
BioEssays 19,161]. An intervention which has been proposed to test this
theory is to encode the mitochondrial genes in the nuclear genome and
transport them into the mitochonrium. This will be extremely informative
but still requires significant work.

It has been demonstrated that telomeric sequences preferentially
accumulate oxidative damage [Exp Cell Res, 1998 Feb, 239:1, 152-60]. I
propose that telomeric sequences be incorporated in a mitochondrial
genome and that this might slow the accumulation of mutations in coding
regions of the genome. Although this intervention would not be as useful
as the one discussed above, it has the advantage of being simple to
implement in the immediate future.

Does anybody think that this intervention would have any effect? Am I
correct in thinking that it would be simple to implement?


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