Although mutations in mitochondrial tRNAs constitute the most common mtDNA defect, the presence of pathological variants in mitochondrial tRNA(Asn) is extremely rare. We were able to identify a novel mtDNA tRNA(Asn) gene pathogenic mutation associated with a myopathic phenotype and a previously unreported respiratory impairment. Our proband is an adult woman with ophthalmoparesis and respiratory impairment. Her muscle biopsy presented several cytochrome c oxidase-negative (COX-) fibres and signs of mitochondrial proliferation (ragged red fibres). Sequence analysis of the muscle-derived mtDNA revealed an m.5709T>C substitution, affecting mitochondrial tRNA(Asn) gene. Restriction-fragment length polymorphism analysis of the mutation in isolated muscle fibres showed that a threshold of at least 91.9% mutated mtDNA results in the COX deficiency phenotype. The new phenotype further increases the clinical spectrum of mitochondrial diseases caused by mutations in the tRNA(Asn) gene.