The evolution of the eukaryotic cell marked a profound moment in Earth’s history, with most of the visible biota coming to rely on intracellular membrane-bound organelles. It has been suggested that this evolutionary transition was critically dependent on the movement of ATP synthesis from the cell surface to mitochondrial membranes and the resultant boost to the energetic capacity of eukaryotic cells. However, contrary to this hypothesis, numerous lines of evidence suggest that eukaryotes are no more bioenergetically efficient than prokaryotes. Thus, although the origin of the mitochondrion was a key event in evolutionary history, there is no reason to think membrane bioenergetics played a direct, causal role in the transition from prokaryotes to eukaryotes and the subsequent explosive diversification of cellular and organismal complexity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)