DNA Day experts answer your questions about mitochondrial DNA

Above: Image © 7activestudio, iStockphoto.com

When they create hybrids with mitochondrial DNA instead of nuclear DNA, how does this affect the reproductive ability?

I assume you're referring to cytoplasmic transfer - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytoplasmic_transfer. I do not think that the resulting offspring should, in theory, have any difficulty in reproducing relative to the general populations.

- Answer provided by Dr. Sean Myles

If the genetic code(DNA) of the mitochondria was to be altered or mutated would that in turn have an effect on the cell in which it resides?

It could. Most mutations have no observable effect on cellular function, but occasionally mutations do have an effect. For example, if the mutation were to alter the amino acid sequence of a key protein involved in cellular activity, this mutation would likely have an effect on the cell in which it resides.

- Answer provided by Dr. Sean Myles

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