The small circle of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) present in all human cells has proven to be a veritable Pandora's box of pathogenic mutations and rearrangements. In this review, we summarize the distinctive rules of mitochondrial genetics (maternal inheritance, mitotic segregation, heteroplasmy and threshold effect), stress the relatively high prevalence of mtDNA-related diseases, and consider recent additions to the already long list of pathogenic mutations (especially mutations affecting protein-coding genes). We then discuss more controversial issues, including the functional or pathological role of mtDNA haplotypes, the pathogenicity of homoplasmic mutations and the still largely obscure pathophysiology of mtDNA mutations.
View details for DOI 10.1080/07853890510007368
View details for Web of Science ID 000229451400008
View details for PubMedID 16019721