Biology Article Essay

Article Summary In Power Failure, Megan Scudellari talks about mitochondrial dysfunction and how it can influence complex diseases. She introduces Douglass Wallace and talks about how he came up with this idea that maybe the mitochondria is linked to certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancers. He was the first person ever to discover that mutations in mtDNA cause disease and from that point on his research began to expand.

At first many scientists turned a blind eye to this theory, assuming that it wasn’t true and that complex diseases were nothing but complex, but as the years went on and more and more research had been done many scientists began to actually consider this theory a possibility. As time goes on Wallace’s idea becomes more and more true. They now know that mutation is connected to impaired mitochondrial function and now Wallace has opened The Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine to perform more research on the mitochondria of cells. My opinion on this article was that it was not very interesting.

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It was mostly just reading off information instead of there actually being some kind of story to it. I do think though that this article was very informative. If they continue with this research and find out more about how the mutations in mtDNA “create” complex diseases I strongly think there may be a possibility that they could find cures for many of them such as cancer. Even though there has been billions of dollars’ worth of research on a cure for cancer maybe they have been looking in the wrong places and excluding the possibility of the mitochondria.

Just because something seems crazy doesn’t mean it is not possible. I think that more scientists should look into Wallace’s theory more, if it could possibly mean a cure why not? Some new terms I found in this article were biomarkers and mtDNA. A biomarker is a substance used as an indicator of a biological state. It can be introduced into an organism to examine organ function, it can indicate a particular disease state, is can indicate exposure to environmental substances, it can detect and isolate a particular cell type, and it can be a DNA sequence that causes or is associated with disease.

In the article a biomarker is something that mitochondrial researchers are looking for along with treatments for mitochondrial diseases. The other term I came across was mtDNA. MtDNA is the name for the DNA inside of the mitochondria. In the article the mtDNA is what has the mutations that cause complex diseases. It is human DNA that is inherited from the mother but can cause major problems. After reading this article the question I thought of was, if we continue to research the influence of mitochondria on complex diseases could we possibly find cures for them such as cancer?