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Name: Karen P.
Status: Educator
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: March 2004

How do organelles reproduce? I am aware that mitochondria and chloroplasts have their own DNA and can self-replicate, but what about some of the other organelles? We are currently studying mitosis and my seventh grade students would like to know this answer. Thanks for this wonderful service for teachers.

Dear Karen,

All of the other cellular organelles are reproduced by the nuclear genome. During cell division, the existing organelles are divided fairly equally between the 2 daughter cells. Then any additional organelles that the daugter cells require, such as ribosomes, are assembled from nuclear gene products, such as rRNA & proteins in the case of ribosomes. The process is almost identical to that which replenishes mitochondria and chloroplasts in the daugter cells, except that it is directed by the nuclear genome, since these other organelles do not have their own DNA, as you correctly noted.

I apologize for the delay in responding & hope that your class is still in session,

Jeff Buzby, Ph.D.
CHOC Research Institute
Div. of Educational Programs
Argonne National Laboratory

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