2There are actually hundreds or thousands of mitochondria per cell… contrary to this simplified diagram of an animal cell. As glucose is broken down to pyruvate in the cytoplasm it gets fed into the mitochondrion. A special collection of enzymes in the mitochondrial matrix then harvests high energy electrons from the pyruvate in a very cool process and feeds them to proteins in the inner membrane etc… protons are moved across etc… ATP generated etc… The key to mention for this talk is the circular DNA.
3The Circular Chromosome of the Mitochondrion Point out that while nuclear chromosomes are linear (this is 21, the smallest, on the left) with 50 – 300 million base pairs, mitochondrial dna is circular with only 16 thousand base pairs. Introns, Exons, largest human gene spans 2.4 million bases, although that is extreme and very unusual.Mention different primer locations for different kinds of studies… human to human, species of mussel, bacteria, insects, etc. Also mention source of mutation and natural selection.A nuclear chromosome is huge and linear.The mitochondrial chromosome is circular and relatively small.
4Mitochondria are Passed from Mother to Offspring In most animals father and mother each contribute the same number of chromosomes to the zygote.But there are thousands of mitochondria per egg cell, and only a few in the sperm. And once the sperm enters the egg, those sperm mitochondria are usually destroyed.The zygote ends up filled with mitochondria from the egg, therefore the zygote inherits the maternal mitochondrial DNA.Ubiquitination…
5Because mitochondrial chromosomes almost never recombine and because they are inherited so differently, population bottlenecks lead to a very rapid loss of mitochondrial diversity.In this example we begin with four mothers, each with a different mitochondrial chromosome.If each mother has two offspring survive to maturity, the population is held constant.Since only daughters pass on the mitochondria, mothers who only have sons end the transmission of that mitochondrial type.After only a few generations (in this example) only one mitochondrial type remains:…the mitochondria from Mother #2
7Mitochondrial Migrations Because mitochondrial chromosomes don’t recombine like nuclear chromosomes, and because they are maternally inherited, mutations don’t spread laterally through a population because of mating.Instead, they are passed, almost clonally, down through subsequent generations, often becoming “fixed” when small populations or individuals move to new areas.Mitochondrial genetic markers are therefore the best tools to follow human migrations that have taken place over the millennia.