Mitochondria

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Mitochondrion (plural, mitochondria), is found in nearly all eukaryotes. Plants, animals, fungi, and protists all have mitochondria. Mitochondria are large enough to be observed with a light microscope and were first discovered in the 1800s. For many years after their discovery, mitochondria were commonly believed to transmit hereditary information. It was not until the mid-1950s when a method for isolating the organelles intact was developed that the modern understanding of mitochondrial function was worked out (Davidson, M.W., 2004). Wallace said, in a March 2008 interview on Mitochondria and Aging that, as well as supplying cellular energy, mitochondria are involved in an assortment of other processes - signaling, cellular differentiation, and cell death, in addition to the control of the cell cycle and cell growth. He also stated that mitochondria also have their own genetic information (DNA) and can reproduce. In this paper, mitochondrion as the cell’s power plant will be discussed as it relates to our body’s need for energy.

Mitochondria provide a constant supply of energy to drive the work being done throughout the cell, therefore they are sometimes referred to as “cellular power plants” (Wilbur, B., 2007, p. 219). The mitochondria are organelles that convert energy from food molecules into most of the cell’s supply of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is called the energy currency of the cell and is used as a source of chemical energy. The more work a cell does the more ATP that cell will need and the more mitochondria that cell will have, i.e. the number of mitochondria present in a cell depends upon the metabolic requirements of that cell. The number of mitochondria in each cell may range from a single large mitochondrion to thousands of the organelles (Davidson, M.W., 2004).

Structurally, mitochondria, like all other organelles, are encased in an outer membrane but mitochondria also have an inner membrane. To describe these 2...
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