Lane 2005 Oxford Univ Press

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Lane N (2005) Power, sex, suicide: Mitochondria and the meaning of life. Oxford University Press. 354 pp.


Lane N (2005) Oxford Univ Press

Abstract: From the introduction: Mitochondria are a badly kept secret. Many people have heard of them for one reason or another. In newspapers and some textbooks, they are summarily described as the ‘powerhouses’ of life – tiny power generators inside living cells that produce virtually all the energy we need to live. There are usually hundreds or thousands of them in a single cell, where they use oxygen to burn up food. They are so small that one billion of them would fit comfortably in a grain of sand. The evolution of mitochondria fitted life with a turbo-charged engine, revved up and ready for use at any time. All animals, the most slothful included, contain at least some mitochondria. Even sessile plants and algae use them to augment the quiet hum of solar energy in photosynthesis.

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