Key points from article :
Hundreds to thousands of mitochondria per cell each carrying its own mtDNA.
mtDNA has limited repair abilities resulting in heteroplasm.
When a critical threshold level of mutant mtDNA is passed, cells become nonfunctional or die.
Cells can break down and remove dysfunctional mitochondria through a process called mitophagy
When Caltech researchers artificially increased the activity of genes that promote mitophagy in fruit flies the fraction of mutated mtDNA in muscle cells was dramatically reduced.
For example, parkin which is mutated in familial forms of Parkinson’s disease reduced the fraction of mutant mtDNA from 76 percent to 5.
The study was published in the Nature Communications journal.