Mitochondrial Genome Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Their Phenotypes in the Japanese

  • Masashi Tanaka
  • Takeshi Takeyasu
  • Noriyuki Fuku
  • Guo Li-Jun
  • Miyuki Kurata
Part of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences book series (ANYAS, volume 1011)


Polymorphisms in the human mitochondrial genome have been used for the elucidation of phylogenetic relationships among various ethnic groups. Because analysis by mitochondrial genetics has detected pathogenic mutations causing mitochondrial encephalomyopathy or cardiomyopathy, most of the mitochondrial single nucleotide polymorphisms (mtSNPs) found in control subjects have been regarded as merely normal variants. However, we cannot exclude the possibility that the mitochondrial functional differences among individuals are ascribable at least in part to the mtSNPs of each individual. Human lifespan in ancient history was much shorter than that at the present time. Therefore, it is reasonable to speculate that certain mtSNPs that predispose one toward susceptibility to adult- or elderly-onset diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, have never been a target for natural selection in the past. Similarly, thrifty mtSNPs that had been advantageous for survival under severe famine or cold climate conditions might turn out to be related to satiation-related diseases, such as diabetes mellitus and obesity. To examine these hypotheses, we have constructed a mtSNP database by sequencing the entire mitochondrial genomes of 672 subjects: 96 in each of seven groups (i. e., centenarians, young obese or non-obese subjects, diabetic patients with or without major vascular involvement, patients with Parkinson’s disease, and those with Alzheimer’s disease).


mitochondrial DNA longevity Parkinson’s disease obesity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masashi Tanaka
    • 1
  • Takeshi Takeyasu
    • 1
  • Noriyuki Fuku
    • 1
  • Guo Li-Jun
    • 1
  • Miyuki Kurata
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Gene TherapyGifu International Institute of BiotechnologyKakamigahara, GifuJapan

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