Mitochondrial dna dating

As people age, mitochondrial DNA accumulates damaging mutations, including deletions and other changes.

This damage results from a buildup of harmful molecules called reactive oxygen species, which are byproducts of energy production in mitochondria.

Researchers are investigating how these mutations could be related to uncontrolled cell division and the growth of cancerous tumors.

Kearns-Sayre syndrome primarily affects the eyes, causing weakness of the eye muscles (ophthalmoplegia) and breakdown of the light-sensing tissue at the back of the eye (retinopathy).Mitochondrial DNA is especially vulnerable because it has a limited ability to repair itself.As a result, reactive oxygen species easily damage mitochondrial DNA, causing cells to malfunction and ultimately to die.These changes likely impair the ability of mitochondria to produce energy.Researchers speculate that the impaired mitochondria may affect certain cells of the autonomic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion.

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