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Volume 16 | Issue 13 | 30 | Jun. 24, 2002

Mitochondria: Cellular Energy Co.

Researchers strive to keep the energy pipeline open in the face of damaging cellular insults | By Amy Adams

Where fossil fuels power the world, mitochondria power the cell. They provide the energy that allows your eyes to scan this page, and fuel each nerve impulse as your brain processes the words. Mutations that impair mitochondrial proteins, encoded by both nuclear and mitochondrial genes,1 cause widespread disturbances in muscle, nerve, kidney, and other high-energy cells.

In the most severe cases, these mutations can cause childhood death; less severe cases result in degenerative diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson disease. "As you start to look at these large important diseases, sure enough there is a mitochondrial component," says James Dykens, associate director of business and corporate development at San Diego-based MitoKor...

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