mtDNA in the Metazoa

Guy Hoelzer hoelzer at unr.edu
Thu Oct 19 11:15:05 EST 2000

In article <8skq50$2bm$1 at mercury.hgmp.mrc.ac.uk>, Mike Syvanen
<syvanen at ucdavis.edu> wrote:

> John Harshman wrote:
> > In article <8s8hc7$j9i$1 at mercury.hgmp.mrc.ac.uk>, Andrew Gyles
> > <syzygium at alphalink.com.au> wrote:
> >
> > > Is exclusively maternal inheritance of mtDNA universal in the Metazoa?
> > >
> >
> > No. For example, in Mytilus (mussels), male mussels inherit mitochondria
> > exclusively from their fathers, and females from their mothers. Weird,
> > huh?
> There was a report about 10 years ago that there is some paternal
> mtDNA inheritance in mice (1991, nature 352:255) and Drosophila
> (1990, genetics 126:657).  I do not know if these examples are still
> generally accepted.

The examples are still accepted, but they are not examples of systems
where paternal mtDNA inheritance is the norm.  Instead, they are examples
of what is called "paternal leakage".  Conventional wisdom these days is
that any system in which maternal mtDNA inheritance is the norm probably
includes rare instances of paternal leakage.

Guy Hoelzer
Department of Biology
University of Nevada Reno
Reno, NV  89557

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