In the last 10 years the field of mitochondrial genetics has widened, shifting the focus from rare sporadic, metabolic disease to the effects of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in a growing spectrum of human disease. The aim of this review is to guide the reader through some key concepts regarding mitochondria before introducing both classic and emerging mitochondrial disorders.
In this article, a review of the current mitochondrial genetics literature was conducted using PubMed ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/). In addition, this review makes use of a growing number of publically available databases including MITOMAP, a human mitochondrial genome database (www.mitomap.org), the Human DNA polymerase Gamma Mutation Database ( http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/polg/) and PhyloTree.org (www.phylotree.org), a repository of global mtDNA variation.
The disruption in cellular energy, resulting from defects in mtDNA or defects in the nuclear-encoded genes responsible for mitochondrial maintenance, manifests in a growing number of human diseases.