Mitochondria: Origin


Mitochondria are double‐membrane cellular organelles containing their own genetic system and are found in nearly every eukaryotic cell. The endosymbiotic hypothesis postulates that a proto‐mitochondrion, an ancestor of present‐day bacteria, colonized a eukaryotic cell and established a symbiotic relationship to the mutual benefit of both organisms.

Keywords: mitochondrial genome; origins and evolution of mitochondria

Figure 1.

The salient features of a mitochondrion.



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Further Reading

Alfonzo JD, Thiemann O and Simpson L (1997) The mechanism of U insertion/deletion RNA editing in kinetoplastid mitochondria. Nucleic Acids Research 25: 3751–3759.

Gray MW, Lang BF, Cedergren R et al. (1998) Genome structure and gene content in protist mitochondrial DNAs. Nucleic Acids Research 26: 865–878.

Leblanc C, Richard O, Kloareg B et al. (1997) Origin and evolution of mitochondria: what have we learnt from red algae? Current Genetics 31: 193–207.

Maier RM, Zeltz P, Kossel H et al. (1996) RNA editing in plant mitochondria and chloroplasts. Plant Molecular Biology 32: 343–365.

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Paquin B, Laforest MJ, Forget L et al. (1997) The fungal mitochondrial genome project: evolution of fungal mitochondrial genomes and their gene expression. Current Genetics 31: 380–395.

Shadel GS and Clayton DA (1997) Mitochondrial DNA maintenance in vertebrates. Annual Review of Biochemistry 66: 409–435.

Thorsness PE and Weber ER (1996) Escape and migration of nucleic acids between chloroplasts, mitochondria, and the nucleus. International Review of Cytology 165: 207–234.

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How to Cite close
Thorsness, Peter E, and Hanekamp, Theodor(Jul 2003) Mitochondria: Origin. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001381]