A squash technique was developed for log phase Tetrahymena pyriformis which permitted the resolution of over 100 individual mitochondria from a single cell. Mitochondria incorporated thymidine at all stages of the cell cycle, even when nuclear DNA synthesis was not occurring. During the stage of macronuclear DNA synthesis, however, there was a significant increase in the extent of mitochondrial labeling. Low radioautograph background suggests that mitochondrial DNA is synthesized at the mitochondria themselves. All mitochondria incorporated thymidine-3H within one population-doubling time. Grain counts also showed that the amount of mitochondrial label was retained for four generations and that this label remained randomly distributed among all mitochondria during this time. The results are not consistent with any theory of de-novo or "microbody" origin of mitochondria, but do support the hypothesis that mitochondria are produced by the growth and division of preexisting mitochondria. The stability of the mitochondrial DNA and its distribution among daughter mitochondria satisfy two prerequisites for a genetic material. The possibility is discussed that some of the genetic information for the mitochondrion is contained in the DNA associated with this organelle.

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