Every cell in the body (except red blood cells) contains mitochondria which live within. These are small complex structures with the purpose of extracting energy from food into a form that can be used by cells. The hundreds of thousands of mitochondria contained by each cell are housed in the fluid that surrounds the nucleus.
Most DNA is enveloped in chromosomes within the nucleus. Mitochondria too contain a small quantity of their own DNA. Mitochondrial DNA of mtDNA is the name given to this genetic material.
Oxidative phosphorylation is the complex process by which mitochondria perform their function of energy conversion. This substance created is triphosphate (ATP) which is the primary source of energy of the cell. Oxygen and simple sugars are used in this process.
Energy conversion is not the sole function of mitochondria in cellular activity. Mitochondria partially help in the regulation of self-destruction of cells. They are also vitally essential in the production of substances like cholesterol and heme. Heme is the part of hemoglobin, the molecule that transports oxygen in the blood.
Mitochondrial DNA has in all 37 genes. 24 of these furnish instructions in the production of enzymes called transfer RNAs and ribodomal RNAs. The balance 13 furnish instructions for the enzymes necessary for the oxidative phophorylation process. All 37 genes are hence necessary for some application or another.
Nuclear DNA is that DNA housed within the nucleus. Nuclear DNA is the DNA of interest to forensic scinetisits. Nuclear DNA is not passed marilineally, rather it is transferred sexually.
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