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image of a paramecium using cilia for movement

January 9, 2014

Cilia--tiny, hair-like fibers--are widely present in nature. Single-celled paramecia use one set of cilia for locomotion and another set to sweep nutrients into their oral grooves. Researchers at Brown University have discovered that those two cilia sets operate at different speeds when the viscosity of the environment changes. This suggests there are different molecular motors driving them, which could help explain how cilia have come to be used for so many different tasks in nature.

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Brown University

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