Saturday 22 October 2016

Mitochondria: the Force is with you!

Published 18/06/2015 | 02:30

Star Wars Jedi Master, Yoda
Star Wars Jedi Master, Yoda

'May the Force be with you" is one of the most famous slogans in movie history. But how many people know that the Stars Wars religion is intimately linked with the inner workings of our cells?

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Among the fans of the film series, the Force is defined as "an energy field created by all living things that surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together".

Any Star Wars Jedi master, like Yoda, will tell you that Midi-chlorians - the molecular power behind The Force - are very similar to mitochondria, the tiny particles found in cells that help to make life possible. In Star Wars, Midi-chlorians exist as microorganisms within cells.

As the author Mark Brake has said: "Mitochondria are the powerhouses within cells. If we did not have them we could not exist and so when we hear the Jedi talking about Midi-chlorians, we can understand what they mean and where this idea comes from."

The tiny Midi-chlorians enable Jedi, members of the mystical knightly order of Star Wars, and other Force-sensitive beings, to connect with the Force.

Back on planet Earth, scientists have actually named real life bacteria that live inside the mitochondria of ticks, Midichloria Mitochondrii.

It's a case of life imitating art.

Irish Independent

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