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Influence of Maternal Aging on Mitochondrial Heterogeneity, Inheritance, and Function in Oocytes and Preimplantation Embryos

Laboratory for Aging and Infertility Research, Department of Biology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
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Genes 2018, 9(5), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9050265
Received: 2 April 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 14 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondria and Aging)
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Abstract

Contrasting the equal contribution of nuclear genetic material from maternal and paternal sources to offspring, passage of mitochondria, and thus mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), is uniparental through the egg. Since mitochondria in eggs are ancestral to all somatic mitochondria of the next generation and to all cells of future generations, oocytes must prepare for the high energetic demands of maturation, fertilization and embryogenesis while simultaneously ensuring that their mitochondrial genomes are inherited in an undamaged state. Although significant effort has been made to understand how the mtDNA bottleneck and purifying selection act coordinately to prevent silent and unchecked spreading of invisible mtDNA mutations through the female germ line across successive generations, it is unknown if and how somatic cells of the immediate next generation are spared from inheritance of detrimental mtDNA molecules. Here, we review unique aspects of mitochondrial activity and segregation in eggs and early embryos, and how these events play into embryonic developmental competency in the face of advancing maternal age. View Full-Text
Keywords: mitochondria; mitochondrial DNA; oocytes; embryos; inner cell mass; trophectoderm; aging mitochondria; mitochondrial DNA; oocytes; embryos; inner cell mass; trophectoderm; aging
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Woods, D.C.; Khrapko, K.; Tilly, J.L. Influence of Maternal Aging on Mitochondrial Heterogeneity, Inheritance, and Function in Oocytes and Preimplantation Embryos. Genes 2018, 9, 265.

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