Recent Advances in the Genetics of Mitochondrial Encephalopathies

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Mitochondrial encephalopathy, the most common neurometabolic disorder, may be caused by mutations in approximately 100 different genes and may present with various symptoms, such as seizures, ataxia, myopathy, cognitive impairment, blindness, and stroke. Fewer than 50% of patients with mitochondrial encephalopathy receive a molecular diagnosis, primarily because of the large degree of clinical and genetic heterogeneity among patients and the limited knowledge of the genes involved in mitochondrial function. Here we review the most recent discoveries of genes associated with mitochondrial disease with variable neuropathology. All these genes have been identified via homozygosity mapping or linkage analysis; however, advances in sequencing technology indicate that the future of genetic diagnosis and disease gene discovery likely lies in high-throughput sequencing.

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