Mitochondria are so much more than the powerhouse of the cell. In this episode, Patrick explores why this organelle is so unique and introduces new research that you probably didn’t hear about in school.
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“The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell,” has got to be the most repeated line in biology. It has been firmly inserted into our middle school textbooks for years, and the powerhouse nickname stems from the mitochondria’s energy production capabilities, but the mitochondria offers so much more than that.
To start, when discussing all the mitochondria in our bodies, we use mitochondrion for singular, mitochondria for plural.
Each Mitochondrion looks different from cell to cell, and there are hundreds of thousands of mitochondria floating around in your cells—though that number also depends on what tissue we are referring to.
But, regardless of shape and number, all mitochondria do have some structural things in common: They each have two membranes—one outer layer, one inner layer, and some space in between them.
While the outer membrane works like a protective but permeable layer, letting different compounds in or out of the mitochondrion, the inner membrane is where some important biology happens to manufacture ATP (or Adenosine triphosphate, an organic compound that provides energy to drive processes in living cells).
So how did we develop mitochondria and what are all the things they do for our bodies?
Find out more about endosymbiosis theory and all the different roles your mitochondria play in this Human.
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This Seeker health miniseries will dive deep into the cellular structures, human systems, and overall anatomy that work together to keep our bodies going. Using the visual structure and quick pacing of Seeker’s Sick series, these human bio-focused episodes will give a new audience an inside look on what’s happening inside all of us.
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