Rapid changes in mtDNA variants between generations have led to the bottleneck theory, which proposes a dramatic reduction in mtDNA numbers during early oogenesis. We studied oocytes from a woman with heteroplasmic expression of the mtDNA nt 8993 (T-->G) mutation. Of seven oocytes analyzed, one showed no evidence of the mutation, and the remaining six had a mutant load > 95%. This skewed expression of the mutation in oocytes is not compatible with the conventional bottleneck theory. A possible explanation is that, during amplification of mtDNA in the developing oocyte, mtDNA from one mitochondrion is preferentially amplified. Thus, subsequent mature oocytes may contain predominantly wild-type or mutant mitochondrial genomes.