Chromosomal Instability

Mitochondria are double-membrane subcellular organelles that have many functions, including oxidative phosphorylation resulting in the production of energy in the form of ATP, the metabolism of fatty acids through beta-oxidation, and import and export of metabolites for further cellular processing (33). Many mitochondrial processes are essential to life; however, these same processes produce deleterious by-products that contribute to cellular oxidative stress and aspects of aging. A relatively large percentage of cellular oxygen consumption takes place in a com-partment—namely, mitochondria—comprising a small percentage of the total cell volume. Since oxidative damage is a major culprit for aging in higher organisms, many studies of aging have focused on mitochondrial function and oxidative damage to mitochondria.

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