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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms


mitochondria  listen  (MY-toh-KON-dree-uh)

  Small structures in a cell that are found in the cytoplasm (fluid that surrounds the cell nucleus). Mitochondria make most of the energy for the cell and have their own genetic material that is different from the genetic material found in the nucleus. Many diseases are caused by mutations (changes) in the DNA of mitochondria. Mitochondria are cell organelles.

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Drawing showing a cell containing organelles, including the nucleus (contains DNA), the nucleolus, Golgi complex, mitochondria, and endoplasmic reticulum. Also shown are the cell membrane and a membrane receptor.