In other words, what evolutionary advantage is offered by mitochondria to eukaryotes(probably regarding energy production), which prokaryotes themselves cannot evolve or do?(here I am assuming that mitochondria evolved from prokaryotes)

I seemingly found some answers in the below article. Will love to hear the opinion of others regarding the same.


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your question is somewhat unclear. Are you asking what selective pressure there was for endosymbiosis? $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 3:05
  • $\begingroup$ That's a pleasant article, but you might want to add the relevant parts (the "answers" you found) to the question. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 12:39

1 Answer 1


If you mean "why do we have mitochondria instead of our cells doing the work themselves" Then I can think of several answers.

First, oxidative phosphorylation must take place within an organelle, and requires specialized cellular machinery to occur.

So either a prokaryote can wait a couple million years to evolve these structures, or it can ask its friend to do it, and HE is specially evolved to do just that.

Like the way you hire a plumber when your toilet gets clogged, instead of going to plumber school yourself.

Also, oxidative phosphorylation has to do with oxygen.

Oxygen, when busted apart, can form unstable molecules called free radicals that are essentially bleach.

These molecules zoom around smashing up anything they touch including DNA.

So the host cell says "better you than me!" Remember how I said you need an organelle for oxidative phosphorylation?

This is why. So all the "bleach" gets contained.

Two very good reasons why we evolved to rely on a separate organism instead of just making our own breathing organelle.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .