Analects of the Core: Lane on evolution of cellular complexity

Mitochondria are a silly place to store genes.  They are often glibly called the powerhouses of  the cell, but the parallel is quite exact.  Mitochondrial membranes generate an electric charge, operating across a few millionths of a millimetre, with the same voltage as a bolt of lightning, a thousand times more powerful than domestic writing.  To store genes here is like depositing the most precious books of the British Library in a dodgy nuclear power station.

— Nick Lane, in his discussion of the evolution of cellular complexity, page 109, in Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution, a book now studied in CC106: Biodiversity

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