#8 Life and Death as We Evolve

Posted on April 5, 2019 by Diana Roberts


It was mitochondrion that got sex and gender rolling by letting out a nervous burst of toxic free radicals emanating from its electron transport chain. However, things changed once multicellular life came around. What is a “Mitochondrion?” It is a small, spherical to rod-shaped, membrane-bounded cytoplasmic organelle, the principal sites of ATP synthesis. They also contain enzymes of the citric acid cycle and ones for fatty acid oxidation, oxidative phosphorylation, and other biochemical pathways. They also contain DNA, RNA, and ribosomes and replicate independently and synthesize some of their own proteins.

With the advent of multicellular life, a germ line was created, apart from the rest of the body, and the mechanism that formerly compelled single-cell organisms fused and was retooled to git rid of deviants that didn’t chime with the whole organism’s reproduction. What mitochondria came to be was a kind of house keeper by conducting cell death: between 50 billion and 70 billion cells die each day in adult humans, which is a normal part of development. Certain genes control the process.

The mitochondria sex function does not end with gender and mere apoptosis, as crucial as the function to multicellular life and individuality may be. In time, everything breaks down, even the best machines. Life is no exception: ultimately, the mitochondrial process by which the electron transport chain utilizes electrons to oxidize hydronium ions into water begins to leak, and highly reactive free radicals are produced, creating chains of even more free radicals, and wreaking havoc on the body’s membranes, proteins, and DNA. The connection is the gradual winding down of mitochondrial function and senescence.

Sex and death appear to be two sides of a flipping coin. In the end, what brought us here contributes to our demise. As Dr. Suess said: “Don’t cry because it is over; Smile because it happened.”