Eukaryotic organelles supposedly evolved from their bacterial ancestors because of their benefits to host cells. However, organelles are quite often retained, even when the beneficial metabolic pathway is lost, due to something other than the original beneficial function. The organellar function essential for cell survival is, in the end, the result of organellar evolution, particularly losses of redundant metabolic pathways present in both the host and endosymbiont, followed by a gradual distribution of metabolic functions between the organelle and host. Such biological division of metabolic labor leads to mutual dependence of the endosymbiont and host. Changing environmental conditions, such as the gradual shift of an organism from aerobic to anaerobic conditions or light to dark, can make the original benefit useless. Therefore, it can be challenging to deduce the original beneficial function, if there is any, underlying organellar acquisition. However, it is also possible that the organelle is retained because it simply resists being eliminated or digested untill it becomes indispensable.
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