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Fly Mitochondria Go Through Quality Control During Egg Development

In most organisms, 13 genes crucial to energy production reside in the mitochondria, the power plants of the cell. Now, scientists have figured out how fruit flies prevent errors from building up in those genes – a long-standing question in reproductive biology. 

Test drives aren’t just for cars. To protect the health of their offspring, fruit flies check the performance of certain mitochondria, the “power plants” of the cell.

In developing egg cells, mitochondria that don’t pass muster are culled, preventing fly larvae from inheriting corrupt mitochondrial DNA. This culling is crucial for survival, says Ruth Lehmann, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at New York University. “If mutations get passed on to eggs, they’ll accumulate over generations, and the species will eventually die out.”

Keep reading the HHMI press release here.

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