Mitochondrial DNA Inheritance after SCNT

  • Stefan Hiendleder
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (volume 591)


Mitochondrial biogenesis and function is under dual genetic control and requires extensive interaction between biparentally inherited nuclear genes and maternally inherited mitochondrial genes. Standard SCNT procedures deprive an oocytes’ mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of the corresponding maternal nuclear DNA and require it to interact with an entirely foreign nucleus that is again interacting with foreign somatic mitochondria. As a result, most SCNT embryos, -fetuses, and -offspring carry somatic cell mtDNA in addition to recipient oocyte mtDNA, a condition termed heteroplasmy. It is thus evident that somatic cell mtDNA can escape the selective mechanism that targets and eliminates intraspecific sperm mitochondria in the fertilized oocyte to maintain homoplasmy. However, the factors responsible for the large intra- and interindividual differences in heteroplasmy level remain elusive. Furthermore, heteroplasmy is probably confounded with mtDNA recombination. Considering the essential roles of mitochondria in cellular metabolism, cell signalling, and programmed cell death, future experiments will need to assess the true extent and impact of unorthodox mtDNA transmission on various aspects of SCNT success.


Nuclear Transfer Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer Heteroplasmy Level Sperm Mitochondrion Rabbit Oocyte 


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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Hiendleder
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal ScienceThe University of AdelaideRoseworthyAustralia

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