|MadSci Network: Cell Biology|
Hi Lisa, Mitochondria are cellular components that are responsible for producing most of the energy for the cell by oxidative phosphorylation. What is interesting about them is that they are thought to be the remnants of symbiotic bacteria. The reason for this belief is that mitochondria have their own genome. Now this mitochondrial DNA is useful for forensics in that it is only passed from the mother so it can be used to determine lineage. Its sequence is not as variable as the DNA in a cell's nucleus so it is not as useful in determining the uniqueness of an individual. Mitochondrial analysis is used for determining the origin of humans. The idea is that the origin of humans can be traced back to an early ancestor through the maternal lineage. So with ennough fossil samples from early hominids and a lot of DNA sequencing science should be able to determine what kind of creature represents the link between apes and humans. Here are some interesting links to follow and learn more. DNA Testing Reddy's Forensic Home Page: DNA Reddy's Forensic Home Page: Anthropology Good luck Mark Sullivan [Mitochondrial DNA can also used in forensics for identifying remains found in mass graves, such as those in Bosnia]
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