Not Your Mom’s Genes: Mitochondrial DNA Can Come from Dad

Discussion in 'Other health news and research' started by Andy, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. Andy

    Andy Committee Member

    Hampshire, UK
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  2. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I'm not surprised, apparently intelligence only comes form the mother, another "finding" that is likely to be shattered eventually. Our understanding of DNA transfer and functions is at an early level and there will be many revisions till we get it right.
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  3. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

    Curiosity led me to this paper from 20 years ago suggesting that the idea that we only inherit mitochondrial DNA from our mothers is false. Apparently there are some mitochodria in the tail of the sperm and in humans the whole sperm enters the egg at fertilization, so there is some paternal mitoDNA at that stage. The paper says there needs to be more research to see whether in some people some of this paternal mitoDNA survives. Looks like this new paper suggests it sometimes happens.
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  4. Hutan

    Hutan Moderator Staff Member

    Aotearoa New Zealand
    Interesting. Amazing that this is only now a discovery - there's so much yet to discover about genetics.

    @BeautifulDay - this finding is relevant to your speculation on the possibility of inheritance of ME/ME-like illness susceptibility via patrilineal lines.

    Also, mixed mitochondrial DNA might possibly be a reason for mitochondria not working well under certain circumstances:
    There's an interesting discussion about assisted reproduction where a woman with mitochondrial disease had the mitochondria in her eggs replaced with healthy mitochondria from another woman. There is speculation that turning off the processes that would normally prevent paternal mitochondria being transferred could, in the future, allow the father to contribute healthy mitochondria to the fertilised eggs.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
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  5. Ravn

    Ravn Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Aotearoa New Zealand
    For example what health effects, if any, being a chimera might have. Chimera meaning having different DNA (ordinary DNA, not miDNA, I believe) in different tissues. It definitely isn't very helpful when trying to prove you're the mother of your own children:
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  6. BeautifulDay

    BeautifulDay Established Member (Voting Rights)

    United States
    Thanks @Hutan

    Very interesting. At one of the UMDF (United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation) conferences I attended last year, one of the mito experts was asked about paternal inheritance. That was the first time I heard someone deviate from the maternal only inheritance pattern of mtDNA. The expert didn't elaborate, but left the door open to paternal inheritance. When pushed, she didn't provide further details -- and she wouldn't discount paternal inheritance as a possibility in mtDNA inheritance.

    To me what was most telling was the reaction of the mito experts in the room. Not one looked up. Not one had a head turn. The experts having conversations in the corners of the room, didn't react at all. This group of experts perks up anytime something new, novel, or something one of them disagrees with is mentioned. At that point I knew there was some work going on behind the scenes and there was something they all knew. All of a sudden the standard science 101 lesson of mtDNA can only be inherited from your mother became much more fuzzy.
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  7. ScottTriGuy

    ScottTriGuy Senior Member (Voting Rights)


    I wonder how many other women (and men) have had / are having their children taken away for this reason. It can't be that common, but traumatically tragic nevertheless for those affected.
  8. Joel

    Joel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Other work shows that females as well as having cells with their own DNA (obviously inherited from both parents) they also have cells direct from their mother, and their own children if they have them (DNA gets swapped across the placenta) plus DNA from the father found in their bodies.

    And of course, while males only get one X chromosome so it is the same from one cell to the next, females get two versions with one being switched off in each individual cell (meaning different X chromosomes in neighbouring cells). Plus the switching off is not total, some genes at the ends of the switched off X chromosome can still function.

    It seems to be the case that females have more diversity of DNA in their bodies than males do.

    X chromosome also contains more genes than Y.
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