Definition of Heteroplasmy

Heteroplasmy is a condition in which a cell shows variations in a certain type of organelle. The organelles present in such a cell or an individual contains more than one type of organellar genome for example mitochondrial DNA and plastid DNA. Through this phenomenon, one is able to determine the extent and severity of mitochondrial diseases.


There are hundreds of mitochondria present in a eukaryotic cell, hence it is usual if some mitochondrial DNA undergo mutations. In the eukaryotic cell of plants, heteroplasmy occurs in both mitochondria and chloroplasts as they both are self-replicating (having own genetic material).


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