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Mitochondrion. 2001 Oct;1(3):269-78.

Screening for mitochondrial DNA heteroplasmy in children at risk for mitochondrial disease.

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  • 1Division of Medical Genetics, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA.


Temporal temperature gradient gel electrophoresis was used to screen 70% of the mtDNA, including all 22 tRNA genes, for heteroplasmy in 75 children with neuromuscular and/or multi-system dysfunction and elevated lactate levels, and in 95 controls. Standard PCR/ASO (allele specific oligonucleotide) and Southern analyses were also employed. Excluding common length variants, heteroplasmy was found in 22 patients and two controls (P < 0.001), with four patients demonstrating heteroplasmy in two locations each. Of the 23 heteroplasmic variants sequenced among the patients, 17 were novel point variants in the control region (CR) and only two involved tRNA genes. Heteroplasmy is highly associated with the disease group, and is predominately found in the CR, an area rarely studied in patient populations. These variants may be pathological mutations or disease markers.

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