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May 23, 2023


Joshua was excited to start his new research position in cell biology at the local university. He was fascinated by all the tiny little “organelles” and other structures within the cell.

On his first day, Joshua was asked to give a presentation to a local high school.

“What can I tell them about the cell” he pondered. “There are so many interesting aspects that I don’t know what to include and what to leave out. I only have 30 minutes so I have to make a good, lasting impression on the students” he told his friend Brian.
“I’ve always been intrigued by the mitochondria” Brian said. “My brother has Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) that results from a mutation in the mitochondrial DNA. Remember when he was having trouble with his vision? Come to find out, he has this disease. The mitochondrial defect results in the death of cells in the optic nerve that relays signals from the eyes to the brain. Perhaps you can focus on that organelle?”

“I do remember when that happened. Since you know someone who is affected by a mitochondrial disease, perhaps you can help me?” said Joshua. “By the way, how is your brother doing now?”
Answer the following questions and save your responses in a Microsoft Word document. Provide a scholarly resource in APA format to support your answers.
Brian indicates that the mutation is in a gene found in the mitochondrial DNA. What does Brian mean by that and why did he signify mitochondrial DNA?
What is the main function of the mitochondria within the cells?
Describe the composition of the mitochondrial membrane and compare that with the composition of a eukaryotic cell membrane. What are the functions of cell membranes?
Although it is unclear how defects in the mitochondria can cause cell death in the optic nerve, what would be your hypothesis on how this can happen knowing the function of the mitochondria within the cell?

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