Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mitochondria : Mitochondrial Eve - Greg Egan

There's DNA in the mitochondria, inherited from the mother alone. So it's easier to use mitochondrial DNA to trace your ancestry. Mitochondrial DNA came, not in paired chromosomes, but in tiny loops called plasmids. There were hundreds of plasmids in every cell, but they were all identical, and they all derived from the ovum alone. Mutations aside -- one every 4,000 years or so -- your mitochondrial DNA was exactly the same as that of your mother, your maternal grandmother, great-grandmother, and so on.

4 out of 5

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