The mitochondrion is an ancient endosymbiotic organelle that performs many essential functions in eukaryotic cells.1–3 Mitochondrial impairment often results in physiological defects or diseases.2–8 Since most mitochondrial genes have been copied into the nuclear genome during evolution,9 the regulatory and interaction mechanisms between the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes are very complex. Multiple mechanisms, including antioxidant, DNA repair, mitophagy, and mitochondrial biogenesis pathways, have been shown to monitor the quality and quantity of mitochondria.10–12 Nonetheless, it remains unclear if these pathways can be further modified to enhance mitochondrial stability. Previously, experimental evolution has been used to adapt cells to novel growth conditions. By analyzing the resulting evolved populations, insights have been gained into the underlying molecular mechanisms.13 Here, we experimentally evolved yeast cells under conditions that selected for efficient respiration while continuously assaulting the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) with ethidium bromide (EtBr). We found that the ability to maintain functional mtDNA was enhanced in most of the evolved lines when challenged with mtDNA-damaging reagents. We identified mutations of the mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase NDE1 in most of the evolved lines, but other pathways are also involved. Finally, we show that cells displaying enhanced mtDNA retention also exhibit a prolonged replicative lifespan. Our work reveals potential evolutionary trajectories by which cells can maintain functional mitochondria in response to mtDNA stress, as well as the physiological implications of such adaptations.