Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tetrahymena Thermophila (Picture of the Day: 3/28/13)

Tetrahymena Thermophila. Source

This little protozoan is by no means new to science. Over the years, Tetrahymena thermophila has led to many great discoveries, and not just one nobel prize. Even with all that this critter has given to our understanding of nature, it appears as if there is still more to be learned. One of the most fascinating things about this protozoa is that it has seven distinct genders. These seven genders can reproduce in 21 different combinations. Until very recently, it wasn't known how the gender of the offspring was determined, but now researchers from UC Santa Barbara and the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have discovered that T. thermophila contains a germiline nucleus that contains the undifferentiated genes from the parents which are randomly assigned to determine gender.
To learn more, check out this article.

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