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Fractal patterns spontaneously emerge during bacterial cell growth

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Scientists discover highly asymmetric and branched patterns are the result of physical forces and local instabilities; research has important implications for understanding biofilms and multicellular systems.

Despite bacterial colonies always forming circular shapes as they grow, their cells form internal divisions which are highly asymmetrical and branched. These fractal (self-similar) patterns are due to the physical forces and local instabilities that are a natural part of bacterial cell growth, a new study reveals. The research, published in the scientific journal ACS Synthetic Biology, has important implications for the emerging field of synthetic biology.

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