Genetics News

Genetics: Bacteria can choose to distribute risk between offspring

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From “Do Bacteria Age? Biologists Discover the Answer Follows Simple Economics” (ScienceDaily, Oct. 27, 2011), we learn:

When a bacterial cell divides into two daughter cells and those two cells divide into four more daughters, then 8, then 16 and so on, the result, biologists have long assumed, is an eternally youthful population of bacteria. Bacteria, in other words, don’t age — at least not in the same way all other organisms do.

They can choose which offspring they give crap to:

“Aging in organisms is often caused by the accumulation of non-genetic damage, such as proteins that become oxidized over time,” said Lin Chao, a professor of biology at UC San Diego who headed the study. “So for a single celled organism that has acquired damage that cannot be repaired, which of the two alternatives is better — to split the cellular damage in equal amounts between the two daughters or to give one daughter all of the damage and the other none?”

Wash yer hands. Use that stupid goo.

Note: Many UD News staff have just completed a long and horrible course of antibiotics, and are usually lying in their bunks getting over it, and do not care how bacteria get killed, as long as they do and we don’t. It’s a really bad episode of Die!, Blobs, Die! Not to be a rerun, we hope.

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