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Mitochondrial Inheritance

Mitochondrial Inheritance

Mitochondrial DNA is the small circular chromosome found inside mitochondria. The mitochondria are organelles found in cells that are the sites of energy production. The mitochondria, and thus mitochondrial DNA, are passed from mother to offspring.

Mitochondrial Inheritance
Images and animations are courtesy of the National Human Genome Research Institute's Talking Glossary (

Materials for Mitochondrial Inheritance


Maternal Inheritance

Description: View an animation of mitochondrial inheritance. Mitochondrial DNA is transmitted only from mother to child, and can be inherited intact over thousands of generations.


Mitochondrial DNA

Description: A detailed overview on mitochondrial DNA and mitochondrial inheritance

Mitochondrial Inheritance

Description: Detailed information on mitochondrial inheritance

mtDNA and Mitochondrial Diseases

Description: Detailed information with illustration on mitochondrial DNA and mitochondrial disorders

Labs & Experiments

Genetic Origins - Mitochondrial Point Mutations

Description: A laboratory experiment illustrating how mitochondrial mutations can be used to retrace the common maternal lineage of humans


Inheritance of mitochondrial DNA, Douglas Wallace

Description: A 30 second video of researcher, Douglas Wallace, explaining mitochondrial inheritance.

Mitochondrial Genetics and Diseases

Description: William Craigen, MD, PhD, discusses mitochondrial genetics and diseases.