Breaking News: Mitochondria NOT the Powerhouse of the Cell

Jeffrey Gustaveson, staff writer

According to a groundbreaking study published Wednesday in Science Magazine, mitochondria are not, as previously thought, the powerhouses of the cell. The discovery was made by researchers within the Department of Biology at Harvard University. Professor Scien Tist, head of a team studying stem cell transplants before happening upon the this much larger discovery, explained, “You know, for years now we’ve thought that mitochondria were really important to cell function, going so far as to call them the powerhouses of the cell. But our research now shows that mitochondria are not actually that big of a deal.”

Mitochondria, the focus of biology curricula across the nation, was long thought to serve an important function within the cell, producing ATP and regulating cellular respiration, along with controlling metabolism. However, the latest research shows that mitochondria are “actually pretty insignificant.” Said Professor Tist, “I would probably liken mitochondria to the appendix or wisdom teeth – they’re there, but gosh, they’re not really doing a whole lot.”

The discovery is expected to ruin the careers of many biologists, who now are left with little to study. Said one Whitman biology professor, wearing a paper bag to assure anonymity, “I’m honestly still reeling. My entire life is built around the central tenet of biology: mitochondria kindle the flame of cellular life. But now … I … I’m lost.”

Added the professor, as he walked to the trashcan to throw away both his wedding ring and his doctoral dissertation, “At this point, I’m starting to question all of my life choices – even my marriage. In my wedding vows to my wife, I told her that we’re all just out in the world searching for our own metaphorical mitochondria, and that my cells would always respire because of her. But what good is any of that now?”

Many senior biology majors at Whitman have also been forced to retool following the announcement. One biology thesis, entitled “Powerhouse tendencies in cell mitochondria,” is not only moot, but in fact entirely invalid. Another, “How mighty is your chondria? A statistical analysis of mitochondrion strength” was found in myriad tattered little pieces on Ankeny field. The author, who spoke from her newfound hiding place deep in the basement of the science building, told The Pioneer, “I’m less worried about not graduating and more worried about the possibility that biology can’t just be boiled down into one pithy, simplistic expression. I mean shit!”

The news has forced students across academic disciplines to question not only what they consider fact and fiction, and many are wondering if their field is next in line for such a shake-up. Others, though, are less sympathetic. Said one Politics major, “I feel for those bio folks, I really do. But I’m not too worried personally. I mean, c’mon, it’s not like someone is suggesting that not everything is a social construct designed to reinforce existing power structures. Now that would be really earth-shattering!”