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Roosters run afoul of genetic rules | Science News

2015-12-22

Researchers caught a rooster doing a hen’s job: passing on mitochondrial DNA to his chicks. Mitochondria, the energy-generating organelles inside cells, carry a circular chromosome containing genes needed to make the mitochondria and keep them running. The long-held rule was that these powerhouses of the cell are inherited only from the mother. But some birds in a 50-generation family of White Plymouth Rock chickens at Virginia Tech broke that rule.

via Roosters run afoul of genetic rules | Science News.

The extent to which male animals pass on mitochondrial DNA to their offspring is not completely known, but if it is a major transfer, then all bets on mitochondrial inheritance are off.  My guess is that this is a minor pathway for inheritance but that it will require a complete rethinking of the mechanisms of mitochondrial inheritance.

Expect a major reshuffling of the accepted rules for mitochondrial DNA; this will take time but will completely change the inheritance patterns that we expect and change the conclusions drawn from the previous assumption of female-only mitochondrial inheritance.

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