Mitochondria are elements that convert energy from food in a manner that cells can use. Mitochondria are structures within cells. Mitochondrial is inherited from both parents in the process of which there is no change.
This is one of the differences between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA in which genes are rearranged in the process of recombination. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) also recombines, but when doing so it copies itself and within the same mitochondrion.
mtDNA is an important tool in forensics and paleontology, used in tracking ancestry through the maternal line. It has been used to trace the ancestry in many species through hundreds of generations.
Human mtDNA comparison is used to identify individuals, especially human remains and unidentified skeletal remains. Unlike nuclear DNA, mtDNA is not specific to a single individual, nonetheless with other evidence, it serves to establish identification. It is also a powerful tool in excluding possible mismatches between unidentified remains and missing persons.
These techniques were employed in identification of the remains of Jesse James the outlaw by comparison with mtDNA of a living male descendant from the female line of his sister. Similarly the remains of the last Czarina of Russia and her children were identified by comparison with the mtDNA of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, her sister’s grandson.
mtDNA becomes useful in assessing genetic relationships within a species of groups or individuals. It is also used to identify and quantify the evolutionary relationship between different species. This is done by comparison of different mtDNA sequences.
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