The Importance of Mitochondria

From the beginning of time, I was an independent bacterial cell who lived on its own…that was until a host cell decided to swallow me up. Known as the endosymbiotic theory, it explains how the host cell and the ingested bacteria (me, the mitochondria) became dependent on one another for survival; resulting in a more permanent relationship. While living on my own for quite a while and living within a cell for the past thousands of years, I’ve gathered a good amount of information. I am important. I have my very own set of DNA and do not need the help of other organelles to properly function. As a matter of fact, the other organelles need me. I am the one who supplies their energy, also known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). I do this through the process of cellular respiration, in which I use oxygen and nutrients to create ATP. Not only do I supply ATP, I also play a role on cell signaling and cell differentiation. Without my role in insulin and energy production, humans would be subject to a variety of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Along with my sidekick(s), the ribosomes, we help keep the cell running. Being a mitochondria is quite a difficult, but unique job. I try my very best to keep you all alive, but if something fails, I will have to end your life.

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