Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 93–96 | Cite as

Endosymbionts and mitochondrial origins

  • Carl R. Woese


The possibility is put forth that the mitochondrion did not originate from an endosymbiosis, 1–2 billion years ago, involving an aerobic bacterium. Rather, it arose by endosymbiosis in a much early, anaerobic period, and was initially a photosynthetic organelle, analogous to the modern chloroplast. This suggestion arises from a reconsideration of the nature of endosymbiosis. It ex-plains the remarkable diversity in mitochondrial information storage and processing systems.

Key words

Evolution Endosymbiosis Mitochondrion Photosynthetic 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl R. Woese
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Genetics and DevelopmentUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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