Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Power, sex, suicide

Not the title you'd expect for a book about mitochondria but it sounds great
Mitochondria are truly fascinating beasts. While many of us find it difficult to become excited about vesicles, ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, or even the Golgi apparatus, it is difficult not to become entranced by the tiny organelles that fuel our existence. As with so many objects of admiration, it is difficult to be precise about what we find so enthralling. Is it that they posses their own DNA? That gram for gram they generate more energy than the sun? Or that they may have once been free-living organisms? Perhaps they fulfil a deep-rooted Oedipal complex; the only part of us that is all of our mother, with no paternal influence to dilute the relationship.
Review from BMJ (not free, I don't think). I have to admit I completely share the reviewer's fascination with mitochodria. This book is definitely on my Xmass list.

For those who don't know, it is believed that mitochondria evolved from free living organisms. Evidence for this includes the fact that they have their own DNA and a "double" membrane such as might be formed by one organism being engulfed by another (i.e. inner membrane that is from the mitochondria and outer membrane is from the plasma membrane of the engulfing cell).

I admit I am a nerd.


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