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Interview with a real-life Midichlorian

#1 User is offline   Toru-chan Icon

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 03:47 AM


Midichlorians proved an amazing let down for Star Wars fans. Our fantastic energy field became lots of jedi-microbes along for the ride. That's kind of sad, because in a 2005 interview with Rolling Stone George Lucas claimed he had based the Midichlorians on our own thoroughly awesome Mitochondria.

If you're an animal, nearly every single cell in your body contains a "mitochondrion". If you're a potplant, that would be a "chloroplast". Both are described in High-school Biology textbooks as "The powerhouses of our cells." They take nutrients and produce ATP molecules which power the cell. That, and so much more...

What's remarkable about Mitochondria is that they were once free-roaming bacteria. One day, many millions of years ago, one entered the cell of one of our earliest ancestors. The Mitochondrion discovered a rich course of nutrients within the cell, and the cell became the lucky beneficiary of ATP giving it a huge evolutionary advantage. Mitochondria have stayed with us ever since, to the point we don't even think of them as bacteria: They're as human as the rest of us is.

Every cell in your body contains up to several thousand Mitochondria. They have their own DNA - which is distinct and carried separately from your DNA. They reproduce separately from you - using asexual division - just like other bacteria. When one of your cells divides, the several thousand Mitochondria that sit within are divided between the two daughter cells.

When you reproduce sexually, the Mitochondria come along for the ride. Each human egg carries about a hundred-thousand of them. Strangely, the Mitochondria are only inherited from the mother. Although the sperm carries anything between zero and a dozen Mitochondria, they're destroyed on reaching the egg.

Nearly every animal cell has Mitochondria. Those that don't, such as a certain amoeba, carry actual bacteria instead which perform the same type of function. What's more amazing is that Mitochondria aren't unique. Plants contain Chloroplasts - also with their own DNA - which perform photosynthesis. Other organelles with our cells were derived from different bacteria.

So let us salute the Mitochondria that dwell within. Without them, our ancestor would have stayed on the bottom of a muddy puddle breaking down sulfates.

There the similarity ends. Mitochondria aren't self-aware. They don't even know we exist, and they're not force sensitive either. Mitochondria do occasionally communicate - but they don't hold psychic conventions to choose a chosen one who will bring balance to the force by unbalancing it.

But they are truly amazing things, and without them we wouldn't exist. Too bad the wonder of these little creatures was lost in the Great Midichlorian Let Down of 1999.


This post has been edited by Toru-chan: 18 June 2009 - 03:49 AM


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