Dictionary » M » Mitochondria



noun, singular: mitochondrion

Spherical or rod-shaped organelles found within the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells, and are referred to as the “powerhouse of the cell since they act as the site for the production of high-energy compounds (e.g. ATP), which are vital energy source for several cellular processes.


They produce large amounts of energy through oxidative phosphorylation of organic molecules during cellular respiration. That is, they are capable of using glucose and oxygen to produce energy (and releasing carbon dioxide and water in the process) for use in many metabolic processes. Thus, it is not surprising to find several mitochondria in high energy-requiring cells, such as muscle cells.

They are semi-autonomous, self-reproducing organelles because they contain their own genome. In fact, their DNA has become an important tool in tracking genetic histories since their genetic material is present in only one copy, and does not recombine in reproduction.

According to the endosymbiotic theory, mitochondria might have been the remnants of early bacteria engulfed by ancient eukaryotic cells a billion years ago that might have evolved and become energy-yielding structures within eukaryotic cells at present.

Word origin: from Gk. mitos - thread + khondrion - little granule.
Related forms: mitochondrial (adjective).
Also known as: chondriosome.
See also: cellular respiration, ATP.

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Mitochondrial DNA

This is a potentially interesting topic since our mitochondria are non-recombinatory, and our strategies may not be adapted for non-recombinatory evolution. This directly relates to whether our mtDNA should be evolving and not just "stabilizing".

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by wildfunguy
Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:34 pm
Forum: Genetics
Topic: Mitochondrial DNA
Replies: 6
Views: 3775

Re: What happens if you convert your DNA into RNA and...

... in a way extend the lifespan of the subject (i know immortality is hard to achive since there are other factors like the oxygene radicals in the mitochondria).

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by Accelerator
Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:31 pm
Forum: General Discussion
Topic: What happens if you convert your DNA into RNA and...
Replies: 4
Views: 3539

Re: How did endosymbionts coordinate replication?

It keeps getting better. Mitochondria don't just divide, they fuse. http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/mitochondrial-fusion-and-division-14264007

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by jonmoulton
Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:50 pm
Forum: Cell Biology
Topic: How did endosymbionts coordinate replication?
Replies: 14
Views: 9756

Re: Mitochondrial DNA

... to do with physical traits, such as hair color, eye color, size etc? As far as I know, no. mtDNA encodes some of the various components for the mitochondria such as the ETC (Electron Transport Chain) proteins such as ATP synthase and it's own ribosomal genes. Here is a pretty good representation ...

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by Zargo
Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:02 am
Forum: Genetics
Topic: Mitochondrial DNA
Replies: 6
Views: 3775

Re: Food to ATP energy?

... into about 30 moles of ATP. Many biology textbooks will state 38, but they do not account for the cost of transporting pyruvate and ADP into the mitochondria, and other costs to move molecules for the entire process. There are ~4 kilocalories, our ~4 Calories (with a capitol "C") in ...

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by tmbirkhead
Thu Aug 14, 2014 1:11 am
Forum: Cell Biology
Topic: Food to ATP energy?
Replies: 2
Views: 5961
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