By Chandan Sekhon - Medicine Student @ Peterhouse, Cambridge
The mitochondria are organelles located in cells and are the site of the aerobic stages of respiration. This is crucial to generate molecules of ATP; used for a multitude of active cellular processes including muscle contraction and nerve transmission. The DNA of the cell is in the nucleus, however, there is some DNA in the mitochondria as well (mtDNA). Specifically, 37 genes are located in the mitochondria and there are no introns. This DNA is similar in structure to bacterial DNA (for example, it is circular), forming the basis of the endosymbiotic theory (described further on).