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Semi-Autonomous Organelles

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  • Last Updated : 27 Jan, 2023
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Cells are the smallest functional element in the body. Higher-class animals like humans or mammals have multiple numbers of cells in their bodies. All these cells act together. As a result, the whole body performs there. Like some other small animals Amoeba, they only have single cells present. All these cells together create a complex structure. Also, plants are categorized into multiple cell categories. All the higher-category plant has multiple numbers of cells. Cells are not a single structure. There are small cell organelles are present. These cell organelles together create a whole cell. There are some variations in those cell organelles.

What are Semi-Autonomous Organelles

In the cells, there are some different cell organelles are present. These organelles are responsible for the function of the cells. In every cell, there is a nucleus present. The nucleus is one of the major cell organelles. The nucleus is called the brain of every cell. This cell organelle handles all the functions in the cell. That is why it is called the brain or instructor of the cell. Other than the Nucleus, there are several more cell organelles present in every cell. Like there is Endoplasmic Reticulum, Ribosome, Lysosome, etc. cell organelles are present in every cell body.

Among those cell organelles, some are unique in function. Some work differently from other cell organelles. All the cell organelles need to be following the instruction of the nucleus. Whatever the information it shares, the cell organelle needs to execute that. Cell organelles are dependent on the nucleus for the protein and signal to perform a specific function. This will help to maintain the function of the cells. There are some other cells are present which have other own (DNA) genetic material i.e., they can leave independently. Most of the protein synthesis on their own to perform a specific function.  Also, some of the proteins synthesize through the nucleus as well. This means these cell organelles can able to follow their path & can able to follow the instruction of the Nucleus. So, they are capable of performing both operations. Those cell organelles are known as Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelles.

The Autonomous word means that a certain thing is independent. This means these cell organelles can work per their own will. Some necessary functions of every cell organelle can be executed by them easily without taking the help of the Nucleus. The nucleus helps the cell perform necessary tasks for its survival. But these cell organelles can able to do without taking the help of the Nucleus. As these cell organelles have some specific elements present in them. Those provide them with these special features. They are called the Semi, as they are not fully independent. From time to time, they need to execute the command of the Nucleus. The cell organelles are bound to do so. They can’t able to skip the command of the Nucleus. So, they are typically semi-independent. So, these cell organelles are known as Semi-Autonomous.

Cell Organelles Under Semi-Autonomous Category

Under the several numbers of cell organelles, there is only one type of cell organelle that belongs to this category. This cell organelle can only be present in animal cells. This cell organelle is known as the Mitochondria. Mitochondria are only the cell organelle in animal cells that have this special tag on them. All those necessary elements are present in the Mitochondria. Also, it has its DNA structure.

Another cell organelle has this type of feature. But that cell organelle is not present in the animal body. That cell organelle has a big contribution to the development of the plant body. That cell organelle is known as the Plastid. There are several types of Plastids are present. They are all responsible for the greenish color of the plant leaves. Like Mitochondria, plastids also have those special features in them. That is the reason behind the semi-autonomous status of the plastid cell organelle. Like Mitochondria, plastids also have their DNA.

Importance of Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelles

Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelles are very important for higher-class creatures. It might be an animal species or plant species. These Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelles help much when the cells are dividing into parts. This means when the cells are growing, at that time these Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelles help a lot. During cell division, the nucleus starts to get divided into two parts. Each part will belong to each dividing cell. Now, Nucleus lost the ability to command the cell division. So, there was a need to command the process of cell division. The Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelles perform the tasks. As they have their genetic structure, they can able to do that. They also need not hurry at the cell division time. Later, they can divide into cells using their special features. During cell division time, the Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelles provide necessary proteins to both of the dividing cells for their survival. So, the importance of Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelles is much more than what might be expected.

Reasons to call Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelles

There are specific reasons to call Mitochondria & Plastids Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelles. They have some specific elements or features present in them. These are features that can only be visualized in this type of cell organelles. They use those elements for performing independently. Both Mitochondria & Plastids can able to perform some tasks on their own. Like they can able to:

  • Genetic Materials: Both cell organelles have their genetic structure. They have DNA present in the matrix. These genetic structures help to work themselves as per their ability. These genetic structures help to replicate themselves. So, all the divided cell organelles always have the genetic structure in them. Using DNA, they can able to synthesize RNA i.e., mRNA, tRNA & rRNA.
  • Ability To Divide: These cell organelles can divide as per their wish. They can able to divide using the fission method. Like every single-cell animal, they can simply divide into two or more divisions. For the division, they don’t need to do a large process like the Nucleus or cell division.
  • Enzyme Synthesizing: These cell organelles can able to synthesize specific enzymes for their proper use. Other cell organelles can also able to synthesize enzymes. But those enzymes are going to be used by other cell organelles for the survival of the cell. But these cell organelles can able to use those enzymes for their survival. Like Mitochondria secretes Succinate Dehydrogenase enzyme.
  • Energy Production: All these cell organelles can able to produce energy for their use. These cell organelles can able to synthesize proteins. For synthesizing proteins, there is a need for energy. There are Ribosomes are present in the matrix of the cells. This Ribosome helps to produce energy. These cell organelles can able to initialize energy production on their own.

These are the autonomous function of the Mitochondria & Plastids. But as they are located inside of the cells & as the Nucleus is the brain of the cells. So, they have to follow some specific command of the Nucleus. The nucleus from time to time provides the command to these cell organelles. By those commands, these cell organelles can able to execute some functions. That is going to the beneficiary for the survival of the cell. Sometimes, in some cases, these cell organelles take help from the Nucleus for their survival.

  • Protein Synthesize: Both these cell organelles can able to produce proteins as per their own need. For its survival, by producing energy, it can able to produce more proteins. But for synthesizing the proteins, these cell organelles need to take the help of the Nucleus. Under the Nucleus influence, these cell organelles can synthesize the proteins. Sometimes, these proteins are used for the survival of the entire cell. For this reason, these cell organelles get Semi-Autonomous status.
  • During Cell Division: During cell division, these cell organelles help the Nucleus in every form. For the division of the cells, there is a need to have a lot of energy. During that time, Nucleus influences these cell organelles to produce more & more energy. Even they start to save energy for future needs. Also, during the cell division time, Nucleus can’t able to command more. During that time also, these cell organelles keep going on with their work. This helps to easily complete the divisional process. For all these reasons, these cell organelles got the Semi-Autonomous tag.

For performing both functions, these cell organelles are known as Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelles. They are performing some tasks for their own survival. As well as they are doing some operations by getting commands from Nucleus. That is the reason behind the Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelle tag.

FAQs on Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelles

Question 1: What are semi-autonomous cell organelles?


The cell organelles that can able to survive on their own, have their specific genetic material, can able to synthesize their proteins, can able to command their own are known as Semi-Autonomous Cell Organelles. These cell organelles can able to divide on their own.

Question 2: Provide the name of two semi-autonomous cell organelles.


In the animal kingdom, there is only one cell organelle present that has the Semi-Autonomous tag. That cell organelle is known as the Mitochondria. In the plant kingdom, there is also only one cell organelle is present is known as the Plastids.

Question 3: Which elements or features provide a semi-autonomous tag to cell organelles?


Certain elements are needed to get the Semi-Autonomous tag. The cell organelle should have its genetic material like DNA. The cell organelle should have the Ribosome present. Having these elements will provide the cell organelle with a semi-autonomous tag.

Question 4: According to the scientists, what was the previous status of the semi-autonomous cell organelles?


According to scientists, the semi-autonomous cell organelles were complete cells themselves millions of millions of years ago. They are completely one different cell. During the evolution process, these semi-autonomous cell organelles merged with modern cells. And after that, they become the cell organelles.

Question 5: What is the reproduction process of semi-autonomous cell organelles?


The semi-autonomous cell organelles follow the binary fission technique to get divide into several parts. In this technique, the cell organelles just get divided into two or more parts. All the parts will become a cell organelle itself.

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