Mitochondria Reportedly Can Come From Fathers Too

If this research is verified by others, this could turn out to be revolutionary. In some cases, mitochondrial DNA reportedly can be inherited from fathers.

Scientists and geneticists have always believed that mitochondrial DNA is inherited directly from your mother’s cells, which means there’s no paternal component. This is a big deal for anthropologists and geneticists, because these scientists use mitochondrial DNA to trace back our history through the generations.

A group of researchers found three unrelated families where individuals had mitochondrial DNA from both parents. A total of 17 people across these three families were affected, suggesting that mitochondria aren’t as exclusively maternal as scientists believed.

You can read more in an article by Avery Thompson in the Popular Mechanics web site (I didn’t know Popular Mechanics does DNA!) at:

The original research paper, Biparental Inheritance of Mitochondrial DNA in Humans, is available at

WARNING: Biparental Inheritance of Mitochondrial DNA in Humans is a highly technical research paper and requires a high level of expertise in DNA to understand it. I found that the research paper is beyond my level of comprehension. I’ll leave it to you to decide if this new research is accurate or not.


I believe many of the major genetic genealogists, Blaine included, were alarmed at first, and of course, inquired with those close to the research for further information. The current opinion is, although this **can** happen, the odds are incredibly against one ever encountering this. It merely raises the level of due diligence ( maybe ) when you do not get the ntDNA results you expected. ( = further testing of other individuals )


SciShow did an episode on this topic recently as well. it is here:


This is interesting. I knew that a man inherits part of his mother’s mitochodrial DNA but it was a one generation deal. Meaning that once a son receives it, he can’t pass it on. Or so we were told by scientists. However, scientists also believed the world was flat. That is the great equalizer for scientists. Time. Scientists theories change over time as they discover additional information. This proves there is a huge amount we still don’t know about DNA. It shows that any DNA results should be used as a guide only. A guide to documented evidence.


The condition that raises the possibility of paternal mitochondrial inheritance is called “hetroplasmy”, the presence of more than one genotype of mitochondrial DNA in an individual — and not due to a transfusion, organ transplant, etc., or to contamination of the sample with someone else’s DNA. Vendors such as Family Tree DNA will report any heteroplasmy they detect. Most of the time, as I understand it, heteroplasmy occurs because there has been a mutation somewhere in the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA, that was passed on to the child (the egg cell contains many mitochondria, each with its own DNA). If a mitochondrion from the sperm has somehow been incorporated into the fertilized egg, there will probably be MANY locations in the DNA sequence where more than one DNA base (A, C, G, or T) has been detected, because people selected at random tend to have significant differences in their mitochondrial DNA. The cases where the extra mitochondrial DNA can’t be explained as a single mutation are the ones that are being discussed. They appear to be very rare. The genetic genealogy community is now busy reviewing all available databases of mitochondrial DNA sequences to try to put some limits on how often this happens. For now, if you took a mitochondrial DNA test and no heteroplasmy was detected, it seems to me you can be virtually certain that only maternal inheritance was at work for your mitochondria, and whatever genealogical conclusions you reached have not been disproved by the new discovery.


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