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The human mitochondrial genome consists of a DNA ring of about 16,570 nucleotides. It contains 37 genes, most of which are coding for mitochondrial tRNAs. The remaining genes play important roles in oxydative phosporylation. Mutations in mitochondrial genes have been identified are the causes for a variety of diseases and, potentially, aging. The mitochondrial genome has essentially bacterial features. A stretch of roughly 1,100 nucleotides is gene-free. I thas been called D-Loop, Displacement Loop, and Control Region. The D-Loop conatins two regions within which mutations accumulate more frequently than anywhere else in the mitochondrial genome. The regions are called hypervariable regions HVR1 and HVR2, respectively.
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