Mitochondria can be inherited from both parents


§Þ@ç€ MØnk€¥
Registered Senior Member
Mitochondria may not be inherited solely through the maternal line, according to new research that promises to overturn accepted biological wisdom.

hi adam

It's been shown that sometimes sperm can pass along some mitochondria when depositing genetic material in the egg. it's not at all common, but can happen rarely. it's not new news though. of course, in some animals, it's quite normal (e.g. oysters).
This may be true, but I had not heard anything about this phenomena before. I was studying cell biology only last sprig semester and I recall that the textbook [the Cell a molecular approach, Cooper, 2000] did specifically mention that mitochondria was always inherited maternally. That is a book not two years old, so this can't be common knowledge... I have not read the latest edition of the Cell by Alberts et al., but still.

It is kinda strange that some of the mitochondria of the sperm escape into the ovum and actually become the majority (as was the case with the man in the Nwe Scientist article). The ovum is essentially a ready cell, but is haploid. All it needs is the other half of the genome from a sperm cell. It doesn't need mitochondria from the sperm cell, I think, but admittably this creates more diversity.
reply to voodoo

I was teaching Cell Biology at the University of Hawaii, and I'm not surprised that the text does not mention the uncommon occurrence of paternally inherited mtDNA, but it does happen occasionally. A little bit of library research will help you find the references. And, most stuff in a Cell Biology text book is not common knowledge but that does not detract from its veritibility.

Finally, even though you're right that the ovum doesn't need mitochondria from the sperm, the lack of that need will not prevent incidental transfer.

Good luck in your studies.