Implications of mtDNA

Jennifer Gaither


Mitochondria are often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell because they provide the energy needed for the cell to perform necessary cellular functions. Mitochondria also have their own source of DNA, although not all genes needed for mitochondrial function are encoded by the mitochondrial genome. While mitochondria have many important roles in the cell such as the site of the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA cycle) and providing the cell with energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through oxidative phosphorylation, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can be associated with rapid evolution, disease, and aging. This review looks at different aspects of mtDNA, and explores the implications associated with evolution, diseases, and  causes of aging related to mtDNA. In addition, this paper provides a brief overview of mtDNA.

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