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posted by martyb on Wednesday November 28 2018, @07:29AM   Printer-friendly
from the threaded-granules dept.

A piece of high school genetics, relied on for many sorts of genetic testing, has been found to have exceptions. Although mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is normally received from the mother, three families have been identified where people received some of their mtDNA, three-quarters in the most extreme case, from their father. The finding may change the way we treat mitochondrial diseases and brings genetic testing for maternal ancestry into question.

MtDNA exists separately from the rest of our DNA, inside the thousands of mitochondria within each cell, rather than the cell nucleus. It is so widely accepted as being from the mother's side it is sometimes known as the Eve Gene, the idea being that it can be traced back to some primeval mother of all living humans. Testing of mtDNA is used to identify maternal ancestry.

However, all that will have to change after Dr Shiyu Luo of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Luo's first exception is a boy who at four was hospitalized with symptoms suggestive of mitochondrial disease. Sequencing of the boy's mitochondria revealed no disease-causing genes, but some oddities in the mtDNA that led Luo and colleagues to sequence other family members for comparison. Around 40 percent of the boy's mitochondria matched that from his mother's father, and only 60 percent came from his grandmother.

After testing of other members of the same family, and other families with mitochondrial diseases, Luo found that, while paternal inheritance is very rare, it has occurred at least 17 times in three tested families.

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  • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Wednesday November 28 2018, @05:02PM (2 children)

    by nitehawk214 (1304) on Wednesday November 28 2018, @05:02PM (#767355)

    "Giving the answer that was generally thought to be correct when the textbook was published" Also means "Even if it is generally thought to be wrong, now."

    I went to primary school pre-internet, so it was much easier to declare "the textbook is the bible, it shall not be questioned." I wonder how teachers handle this now in the age of standardized tests.

    "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ikanreed on Wednesday November 28 2018, @05:13PM

    by ikanreed (3164) on Wednesday November 28 2018, @05:13PM (#767358) Journal

    They standardize the tests by making them match the textbooks they require all the schools to have. Some states even test students on known to be wrong answers for political reasons. *cough*Texas*hack*

    That's not the joke answer. That's what they do.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday November 28 2018, @06:49PM

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday November 28 2018, @06:49PM (#767410) Journal

    Good. They should get used to the fact that science changes all the time as it improves itself.

    Learning something, and then later learning why it's actually wrong is how science should be taught.