extranuclear genes

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Genes included in the DNA present in organelles other than the nucleus, such as the mitochondria and chloroplasts, some of which code for the synthesis of proteins. The DNA of these organelles is inherited by the offspring via the cytoplasm of the gametes (see cytoplasmic inheritance). In organisms in which one gamete is much larger than the other, so that the smaller gamete contains very little cytoplasm, one parent will contribute most or all of the extranuclear genes. For example, human mitochondrial DNA is passed from generation to generation through the maternal line in the ovum.

Subjects: Biological Sciences.

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