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Thread: Longevity, mitochondria implantation?

  1. #1 Longevity, mitochondria implantation? 
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    Hmmm, i was watching a programme on BBC4 called time, in particular the part about bird mitochondria caught my eye, i`ve heard this before but apparently they are much more efficient at dealing with free radicals which cause birds to age much slower than mammals with a similar metabolism.

    I do not know much in depth about biology, but i understand the mitochonria have there own DNA and can self replicate (although some proteins are coded for by the nucleus of the cell). I`m wondering of it would be possible to simply remove mitochonria from a bird cell and implant them into mammal cells, would the cells still function, grow with the new bird mitochonria?

    I`m sure this must have been asked before, if not attempted. I was thinking how would it work if you implanted them in all the cells of a foetus, would you create a much longer living organism?

    As i said though, i know little about biology so perhaps there is a very obvious reason why this would not work. If perhaps some of the proteins the mitochonria needs can not be coded for byt the mammal DNA, could you not find the genes for these proteins in the bird DNA then insert them?


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  3. #2 Re: Longevity, mitochonria implantation? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by wikipedia
    Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is present in mitochondria as a circular molecule and in most species codes for 13 or 14 proteins involved in the electron transfer chain, 2 rRNA subunits and 22 tRNA molecules (all necessary for protein synthesis). The number of proteins involved in the electron transfer chain is much larger than 13 or 14, but the remainder is in fact coded by the nuclear DNA.
    So let us assume bird mitochondria carry the same genes in their DNA as mammalian mtDNA so they can still replicate in mammal cells. What we can do is put an great excess of bird mitochondria in the female egg cell (micro injection). As a result the amount of mitochoindria will be downregulated in the cell resulting in a higher amount of bird mitochondria compared to mammal mitochindria.

    But I doubt it will result in longer living species, there -referred by wikipedia- most of the electrontransfer proteins are coded by nuclear DNA (it are those which could reduce free radicals to be formed). Furhtermore mitochondria have enzymes which neutralize free radicals (they use vitE, that's wy they say vitE keeps you young) also these are coded by nuclear DNA. So again I am not that optimistic.
    It always better to specifically know at which point they (the bird mitochondria) work better, is coded in their nuclear or mt-DNA and work from there.


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  4. #3  
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    Ok, so the nuclear DNA is probably more important to the mitochnodria than the mitochondria DNA?
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  5. #4  
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    Indeed that is the summary of my pessimism.
    he who forgets...will be destined to remember (Nothing Man - Pearl Jam)
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