While celebrating Mother’s Day over brunch, don’t just thank your mom for all her love and nurture, remember to also mention mitochondria, like Leah Bury, our featured artist for June, suggests in her science-y Mother’s Day card.
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells, which means they generate the energy that keeps cells (and by extension you) running. Interestingly, we inherit our mitochondria entirely from our mothers, and soon after the egg is fertilized by the sperm, paternal mitochondria is destroyed. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why that is, but they have observed that in C. elegans, a transparent roundworm that is commonly used in research, the longer paternal mitochondria sticks around, the lower the chances of survival are for the embryo.
So thank your mom for all the mitochondria she’s given you, and keep an eye out for more of Leah Bury’s science art, which we’ll start featuring in June!
Contributed by Leah Bury, a postdoc at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, and our Featured Artist for June, 2018. To meet Leah and see more of her art, click here.