|MadSci Network: Cell Biology|
You may be surprised to learn that the question of the number of mitochondria present in a cell has been answered previously in our archives. When you read this answer (1066497288.Cb) you will see that it is likely that there is only 1 large mitochondrion in a eukaryotic cell. The papers cited in that answer pertain to the mitochondria of both yeast cells and mammalian cells (including humans), so I am going to extrapolate that this is the case for all eukaryotes. In fact, I asked a colleague of mine who studies Dictyostelium (also known as the social amoeba, or cellular slime-mold), and he agreed that there was no reason to think that Dicty (our fond name for this interesting organism) would be different from other eukaryotes in this respect. So, the answer to your question is, one (1).
Now, I'm suspect that that might not be a very satisfying answer for you, so I can let you know that the Dictyostelium discoideum mitochondrion contains about 200 copies of the 54kb long mitochondrial genome. With a little legwork, you can compare this number to the number of copies of the mitochondrial genomes in the cells of other organisms. For more information about the Dicty genome, you can visit the DictyBase, an excellent source for information about the Dicty genome.
For even more information about Dicty mitochondria, you can visit the web pages of the Barth Laboratory at Australia's La Trobe University in Victoria. Dr. Barth's lab uses Dictyostelium discoideum as a model organism to study mitochondrial genetics and the control of the replication and transcription of mitochondrial DNA in an effort to understand overall mitochondrial function and biogenesis.
You can also search our archives for other answers containing the word dictyostelium.
Good luck with your summer research!
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