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Press Release 12-009

Biologists Replicate Key Evolutionary Step in Life on Earth

Follow how single-celled organisms began forming multi-cellular clusters

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Image showing green cells undergoing cell death.

Green cells are undergoing cell death, a cellular division-of-labor--fostering new life.

Credit: Will Ratcliff and Mike Travisano


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Image of multi-cellular snowflake yeast with a blue cell-wall stain and red dead-cell stain.

Multi-cellular 'snowflake' yeast images with a blue cell-wall stain and red dead-cell stain.

Credit: Will Ratcliff and Mike Travisano


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Image of snowflake yeast with dead cells stained red.

First steps in the transition to multi-cellularity: 'snowflake' yeast with dead cells stained red.

Credit: Will Ratcliff and Mike Travisano


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Image of multi-cellular yeast showing hundreds of cells.

A multi-cellular yeast consisting of hundreds of cells.

Credit: Will Ratcliff and Mike Travisano


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Image of multi-cellular yeast individuals containing central dead cells stained red.

Multi-cellular yeast individuals containing central dead cells, which promote reproduction.

Credit: Will Ratcliff and Mike Travisano


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Image showing aberrant shapes of multi-cellular yeast's dead cells that are stained red.

Aberrant shapes of multi-cellular yeast's dead cells: break points for reproduction.

Credit: Will Ratcliff and Mike Travisano


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