Electron microscopic radioautography has been used to study the synthesis of mitochondrial DNA after incorporation of thymidine-3H by cultures in logarithmic phase of Tetrahymena pyriformis during periods ranging from 15 min to 12 hr. The great majority of silver grains are distributed over the macronuclei, the micronuclei, and the mitochondria. The intensity of the label over the entire mitochondrial population is a function of the length of the incubation period within the time interval considered. The intensity of the mitochondrial label was compared with that of the nuclear label. Mitochondria incorporate at the same rate whether the nuclei are synthesizing or not. This persistence of mitochondrial incorporation in the absence of nuclear incorporation excludes the hypothesis of a nuclear origin for mitochondrial DNA. We are not able to determine whether the apparent continuity of synthesis in the entire mitochondrial population of a cell actually represents a series of asynchronous discontinuities.

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