PerspectiveDevelopment

Inheriting Maternal mtDNA

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Science  25 Nov 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6059, pp. 1069-1070
DOI: 10.1126/science.1215480

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Summary

In almost all eukaryotes, mitochondrial genes are inherited mainly from the maternal parent (1). The mechanisms by which this occurs, and their evolutionary advantages, have remained largely elusive. Two reports in this issue, by Sato and Sato (2) on page 1141 and Al Rawi et al. (3) on page 1144, show that paternal mitochondria are eliminated from the fertilized oocyte (2, 3) by autophagy, a degradation process that removes structures that may threaten cell survival (4).