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A comparison of mtDNA deletion mutant proliferation mechanisms
Alan G Holt 1, Adrian M Davies 2
In this paper we use simulation methods to investigate the proliferation of deletion mutations of mitochondrial DNA in neurons. We simulate three mtDNA proliferation mechanisms, namely, random drift, replicative advantage and vicious cycle. For each mechanism, we investigated the effect mutation rates have on neuron loss within a human host. We also compare heteroplasmy of each mechanism at mutation rates that yield the levels neuron loss that would be associated with dementia. Both random drift and vicious cycle predicted high levels of heteroplasmy, while replicative advantage showed a small number of dominant clones with a low background of heteroplasmy.