The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is highly variable, containing large numbers of pathogenic mutations and neutral polymorphisms. The spectrum of homoplasmic mtDNA variation was characterized in 730 subjects and compared with known pathogenic sites. The frequency and distribution of variants in protein coding genes were inversely correlated with conservation at the amino acid level. Analysis of tRNA secondary structures indicated a preference of variants for the loops and some acceptor stem positions. This comprehensive overview of mtDNA variants distinguishes between regions and positions which are likely not critical, mainly conserved regions with pathogenic mutations and essential regions containing no mutations at all.
- mtDNA variants