Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life

by Nick Lane
New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 354 pages.

From the publisher: "Power, Sex, Suicide, Complexity, Individuality, Fertility, Prehistory, Ageing, Death. These universal themes are all linked by mitochondria — the tiny structures located inside our cells — miniature powerhouses that use oxygen to generate power. ... Once considered menial slaves, mere workhorses for complex cells with nuclei, their significance is now undergoing a radical revision. Mitochondria are now seen as the key ingredient that made complex life possible at all. ... This is a book full of startling insights into the nature and evolution of life, and should be read by anyone who wants to know why we're here."