Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Mitochondrial DNA is almost entirely maternally inherited. Thousands of copies of mitochondrial DNA are present in every nucleated cell and in most normal individuals these are virtually identical (homoplasmy). Mitochondrial DNA diseases may be caused by mutations in either mitochondrial (Nature 1988;331:717-719) or nuclear genes (Nature 1989;339(6222):309-311; Br J Hosp Med 1996;55:712-716) and hence give rise to maternal or autosomal patterns of inheritance. Antenatal diagnosis of mitochondrial diseases based on chorionic villus sampling is available for Mendelian disorders and the syndromes caused by mutations at bp 8993 (associated with both Leigh's syndrome or neurogenic weakness ataxia and retinitis pigmentosa). However, prenatal diagnosis of many other maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA diseases is less reliable because it is not possible to predict the way in which heteroplasmic mitochondrial DNA mutations segregate within tissues with confidence. This review focuses on the substantial progress that has been made recently, and on the applicability of prenatal diagnosis to genetic counselling in this field.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Neuromuscul Disord

Publication Date

10/2000

Volume

10

Pages

484 - 487

Keywords

DNA, Mitochondrial, Female, Genetic Counseling, Humans, Mitochondrial Myopathies, Pregnancy, Prenatal Diagnosis