The evolutionary origins of organelles

Trends Genet. 1989 Sep;5(9):294-9. doi: 10.1016/0168-9525(89)90111-x.


Analysis of organellar genomes strongly supports the idea that chloroplasts and mitochondria originated in evolution as eubacteria-like endosymbionts, whose closest contemporaries are cyanobacteria and purple photosynthetic bacteria, respectively. However, there is still much debate about whether a single endosymbiotic event or multiple ones gave rise to each organelle in different eukaryotes, and considerable uncertainty about what has happened to the genomes of chloroplasts and mitochondria since their appearance in the eukaryotic cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution*
  • Chloroplasts
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Mitochondria
  • Organelles*
  • RNA, Ribosomal / analysis
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA, Ribosomal