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Mitochondrial Mutations: When the Cell’s Two Genomes Collide

February 5, 2013
Understanding a genetic double whammy

Bright areas surrounding darker oval nuclei denote the location of mitochondria in the stained cells of fruit fly ovaries. Brown and Indiana researchers have traced the genetic and biochemical roots of a disease that arose in flies from an incompatibility between the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. Credit: Rand lab/Brown University

Plant and animal cells contain two genomes: one in the nucleus and one in the mitochondria. When mutations occur in each, they can become incompatible, leading to disease. Graduate student, Marissa Holmbeck is an author on the paper that hopes to increase the understanding of such illnesses. She worked on a team with scientists at Brown University and Indiana University to trace one example in fruit flies down to the individual errant nucleotides and the mechanism by which the flies become sick. Read more in David Orenstein's article about when cell's genomes collede.