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What is mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)?

Small structures called mitochondria reside in every cell in your body. Within each of these structures is a tiny circular genome. We call the DNA of this genome "mitochondrial DNA" or "mtDNA" for short.

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Unlike the rest of your genome, mtDNA is only passed on from mother to child; mtDNA inheritance is "maternal," tracking your ancestry through your mother, your mother's mother, your mother's mother's mother, and so on.

 

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