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Medical Term:

mitochondrial chromosome


Definition: the DNA component of mitochondria, the chief function of which is synthesis of adenosine triphosphate and the management of cellular energy; the chromosome contains some 16,000 base pairs arranged in a circle. The inheritance is matrilineal, and the mutation rate is unusually high; because each cell contains thousands of copies, a mutant form may assume an almost continuous gradation as in a galtonian process. Most of the mutations known have their impact on the respiratory chain.

© Copyright 2016 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.