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OHSU study shows how mitochondrial genes are passed from mother to child

Study also highlights shortcomings of current genetic testing methods to prevent certain genetic disorders

Research conducted at the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University helps answer some long-standing questions about how certain disease-causing gene mutations are inherited.

The research specifically focused on gene mutations in cell mitochondria that can cause several diseases, including forms of cancer, diabetes, infertility and neurodegenerative diseases. With this new information, we now better understand how and when these mutations are passed to children to improve diagnosis and prevention. The research will be published online in the journal Cell Reports on Thursday, May 3.

Shoukhrat Mitalipov, Ph.D., who previously developed a method for preventing the passing of mitochondrial genetic mutations from mother to infant in 2009, directed the research.

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