From the HBD Archive
Subject: Yeast Biology
Date: 1992-04-07 16:12:43 GMT

Yeast biology article digested from

journal = Science, 20 Mar 92 (origin - Cell, 20 Mar 92)
author = Michelle Hoffman (Science)
title = Yeast Biology enters a suprising new phase,
page = 1510
source = Gerald Fink, et al (@ Whitehead Institute) and MIT
keyword (s) = Saccharaomyces cerevisiae / captive behavior
filimentous phase / domestication / starvation

The old Field vrs Laboratory observation style philosophies
recently took a turn for the interesting in the yeast arena.

It seemed to be commonly accepted by the majority of Saccharomyces
researchers that although most of its relatives (other similar molds)
went through a filamentous phase and that Saccharomyces had been so
domesticated over the years that it either never had the ability
or had lost it. Now researchers have reason so suspect their

Fink first suspected a contaminant because it did not resemble the
normally observed structure, but Carlos Gimeno (grad. stu.) pointed out
that the alien could have successful sex with Saccharomyces.

The missing phase seems to be caused by the fact that,
in the lab, the ingredients for growth are all provided for.
The filamentious phase seems to be activated by starvation.

Fink claims that given free reign the yeast would ...

"If you let just one cell divide at its maximal rate, it would form a
layer around the earth 10 feet deep after just 2 weeks."
(ed. everybody "pitch" in and LETS TRY IT!)

The new structure seems to be invoked by reduced environmental nitrogen
levels, which causes buds not to not seperate. A bud does not break away
and that daughter bud does not breakaway. This "chaining" activity allows
the yeast to penetrate agar media, and has been hypothesised to be a
foraging mechanism. The yeast penetration effect seems to be regulated
by nitrogen levels.

John Isenhour

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