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Extracting cellular 'engines' may aid in understanding mitochondrial diseases
Date:1/6/2011

ed as a "tweezer" to isolate a mitochondrion, which then can be extracted by a tiny pipette whose tip is less than a micrometer wide.

This approach allowed the team to place a single mitochondrion into a small test tube, where they could explore the mitochondrion's genetic makeup by conventional means. The team found the mutation present throughout the entire cell was also found within individual mitochondria, a find suggesting that broad genetic research on mitochondrial disease may be possible at last.

"Getting an object as tiny as this from tweezer to test tube is not easy," says Koren Deckman, a biochemist from Gettysburg College. "But by building on more than a decade of work that has gone on at NIST and elsewhere, we now have a way to see the mitochondria we extract all the way through the transfer process, meaning we can be sure the sample came from a very specific cell. This could give medical scientists the inroad they need for understanding these diseases."


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Contact: Chad Boutin
boutin@nist.gov
301-975-4261
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert

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