mitochondrial inheritance

Synonym: maternal inheritance

Mitochondria -- cytoplasmic organelles that produce the energy source ATP for most chemical reactions in the body -- contain their own distinct genome; pathogenic variants in mitochondrial genes are responsible for several recognized syndromes and are always maternally inherited because mitochondria are transmitted by the ova, not the sperm.

Related terms: heteroplasmy; homoplasmy; mode of inheritance; variable expressivity

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