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A microbe's fountain of youth

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The yeast S.pombe is one of the best-studied microbes in the world. First isolated from East African millet beer over a century ago, it's been used as a model organism in molecular and cell biology for the past sixty years. And yet scientists have now just uncovered what may be its most striking feature—that under favorable conditions, it doesn't grow old.

Most single-cell organisms age. When they divide in half, one daughter cell typically receives older, defective material, while the other acquires newer components.

But S.pombe employs a different strategy. In a study published recently in Current Biology, a team of researchers has shown that, when unstressed, the yeast divides by splitting the damage equally. In a sense both daughters are "rejuvenated," since they're left with less damage than the mother cell.

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