New work shows that bacteria (and probably other cells as well) don’t double in mass before dividing. Instead they add a constant volume (or mass) no matter what their initial size. A small cell adds the same volume as a large cell. By following this rule a cell population quickly converges on a common size.
Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis have obtained the first experimental evidence that there are at least two fail-safe points in the bacterial cell cycle. If the fail-safes are activated, the cell is forced to exit the cell cycle forever. It then enters a zombie-like state and is unable to reproduce even under the most favorable of conditions. Drugs that trigger the fail-safes are already under development.
Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton has announced the creation of new four-year fellowships in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, made possible by a generous gift from William H. Danforth. Danforth hopes the new fellowships will attract highly motivated students to this field of study and foster a culture of intellectual entrepreneurship focused on research and innovation in plant sciences.