Mitochondrial DNA Mutations: The Early Stages Of Human Life

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Today, there are many different kinds of mitochondrial DNA mutations. These mutations can vary in severity, and the consequences that result from the mutation. But how did these mutations arise? And how do they affect those afflicted with the mutation? In order to properly understand human mitochondrial DNA mutations, we must begin with the early stages of human life. The history of mitochondrial mutations stems back thousands of years, when humans first evolved in regions of Africa. These early humans had properly functioning mitochondrial DNA, with accurately arranged bases that were free of mutation. As humans continued to evolve, and populations grew, more DNA was duplicated as humans and offspring developed. These mitochondrial DNA strands slowly developed variations in base patterns, occasionally deleting a base entirely. Over time, these mutations continued to transfer onto offspring, producing more opportunity for DNA to modify. Because of this knowledge, it could then be implied that older populations have…show more content…
These mutations have a variety of affects, some severe, and some which are almost unrecognizable. Severity is determined by the genes which are inherited through the mother’s egg before birth. The egg is made from cells which contain mitochondrial DNA. In most cases of inborn mutations, the mother’s egg contains both cells without mutations and cells with mitochondrial DNA mutations, without her possessing any symptoms. This is because while the mutated gene is present, it is greatly outnumbered by the amount of healthy cells with properly arranged mitochondrial DNA. However, the cells that form to create an egg allow for an opportunity of mutated genes to outnumber those without mutation. The percentage of a mutation present determines the severity of the resulting mutation in the
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