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Biology Word Search Worksheet on Mitochondria

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Mitochondria are membrane-bound organelles found in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells. They are often referred to as the “powerhouses” of the cell because they generate most of the cell’s supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is used as a source of chemical energy. Here are some key points about mitochondria:

  1. Structure: Mitochondria have a double membrane. The outer membrane is smooth, while the inner membrane has many folds called cristae. These cristae increase the surface area, allowing for more ATP production.
  2. Function: Beyond producing ATP, mitochondria are involved in various other cellular activities, including the regulation of the cell cycle and cell growth, maintaining calcium levels, and mediating cell death.
  3. Origin: Mitochondria are believed to have originated from an ancient symbiotic relationship between primitive eukaryotic cells and prokaryotic cells. This theory, known as the endosymbiotic theory, suggests that mitochondria were once free-living bacteria that were engulfed by a primitive eukaryotic cell.
  4. Genetic Material: Mitochondria have their own DNA, known as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). This DNA is inherited maternally in most organisms, meaning it is passed down from mother to offspring.
  5. Replication: Mitochondria can replicate independently of the cell in which they reside, ensuring that a sufficient number of mitochondria are passed on to daughter cells during cell division.
  6. Diseases: Dysfunctions in mitochondria can lead to a range of diseases, often involving the muscles or the nervous system, given the high energy requirements of these tissues. Examples include mitochondrial myopathies and Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy.

In summary, mitochondria are essential organelles in eukaryotic cells responsible for producing energy and playing roles in various other cellular processes.

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