It's super annoying that the Internet has turned mitochondria into a joke about how useless science education is. Everyone should ACTUALLY be amazed by mitochondria, and here's why.
  1. The mitochondria in your cells are the descendants of free living bacteria
    An ancient cell engulfed a bacterium, and that bacterium stayed inside the cell making energy and reproducing, making our modern cells possible
  2. They have their own DNA
    Mitochondrial genomes are useful in not only evolutionary research, but also in forensic science
  3. The protein that makes ATP, the energy source of the cell, is essentially a wheel. It spins at over 200 mph
    And there are zillions of these in every cell of your body
  4. Mitochondria can make networks with each other, connecting hundreds together into a continuous compartment
    The classic bean shaped organelle isn't always accurate. Learning about how they fuse together and break apart has huge implications for human disease.
  5. They link electric gradients, metabolism, and cell signaling all into one place
    Maintaining electric charge, creating fuel for your body, and telling the cell what it should be doing is a huge amount of work for one tiny compartment. But the mito manages.
  6. Mitochondria can be very different depending on what type of cell they are in
    The mitochondria in heart tissue are very different from mitochondria in a fat cell, for example. Red blood cells don't contain any mitochondria at all.
  7. The evolution of complex life that we see around us every day would be impossible without the acquisition of mitochondria
    Read Nick Lane's book Power, Sex, Suicide for more on this.