PCR Based Determination of Mitochondrial DNA Copy Number in Multiple Species

  • John P. Rooney
  • Ian T. Ryde
  • Laurie H. Sanders
  • Evan. H. Howlett
  • Meryl D. Colton
  • Kaylyn E. Germ
  • Greg D. Mayer
  • J. Timothy Greenamyre
  • Joel N. MeyerEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1241)


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number is a critical component of overall mitochondrial health. In this chapter, we describe methods for isolation of both mtDNA and nuclear DNA (nucDNA) and measurement of their respective copy numbers using quantitative PCR. Methods differ depending on the species and cell type of the starting material and availability of specific PCR reagents.

Key words

Mitochondrial DNA mtDNA mtDNA depletion Copy number QPCR Mitochondrial toxicity Mitochondrial disease 



We thank Aleksandra Trifunovic for sharing the mtDNA copy number plasmid for C. elegans with us, and we thank Kevin Kwok for supplying us with medaka tissue. This work was supported by P42 ES010356-10A2, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Environmental Protection Agency under NSF Cooperative Agreement EF-0830093, Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or the EPA. This work has not been subjected to EPA review and no official endorsement should be inferred. The funding sources had no role in experimental design, data collection, or interpretation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • John P. Rooney
    • 1
  • Ian T. Ryde
    • 1
  • Laurie H. Sanders
    • 2
  • Evan. H. Howlett
    • 2
  • Meryl D. Colton
    • 1
  • Kaylyn E. Germ
    • 3
  • Greg D. Mayer
    • 3
  • J. Timothy Greenamyre
    • 2
  • Joel N. Meyer
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Nicholas School of the EnvironmentDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neurology, Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative DiseasesUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.The Institute of Environmental and Human HealthTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

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