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What is the endosymbiotic hypothesis about the origin of mitochondria? What are the molecular facts that support the hypothesis? To which other cellular organelles the hypothesis can also be applied?


It is presumed that mitochondria were primitive aerobic prokaryotes that were engulfed in mutualism by primitive anaerobic eukaryotes, receiving protection from these beings and offering energy to them. This hypothesis is called the endosymbiotic hypothesis on the origin of mitochondria.

The hypothesis is strengthened by some molecular evidences as the facts that mitochondria have own and independent DNA and protein synthesis machinery, with own RNA and ribosomes, and that they can self-replicate.

The endosymbiotic theory can be applied for chloroplasts too. It is supposed that these organelles were primitive photosynthetic prokaryotes because they have own DNA, RNA and ribosomes and they can self-replicate too.

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