Mitochondrial inheritance: diverse patterns and mechanisms with an emphasis on fungi
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In eukaryotic cells, mitochondria play essential roles by generating the universal energy currency, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), through oxidative phosphorylation to support cellular activities. Similar to chloroplasts in plants and algae, but unlike other intracellular organelles, mitochondria contain their own genetic materials. The mitochondrial genes and genomes are inherited differently and independently from that of nuclear genes and genomes. While uniparental (and maternal) mitochondrial inheritance is the dominant pattern, there is a surprisingly large diversity of other inheritance modes, especially in fungi. Closely related species, or even different strains of the same species, can have different mitochondrial inheritance patterns in the fungal world. In this review, we describe the diversity of mitochondrial DNA inheritance patterns with an emphasis on fungi. Whenever possible, the mitochondrial inheritance patterns observed in fungi are compared with those in other eukaryotes to draw general conclusions about the mechanisms of mitochondrial inheritance in eukaryotes. The inheritance patterns derived from both laboratory crosses and natural populations are reviewed. In addition, we discuss the potential roles of hybridization on mitochondrial inheritance.
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