OU Math Professor Develops Model To Explain Yeast Communication

By
Atish Baidya

Dateline
Updated Mon, Aug 5, 2013 11:51 am

An Ohio University math professor and his team of math students have developed a mathematical model to explain how yeast cells coordinate activity in large populations.

Researchers growing large populations of yeast in bioreactors observed the microorganisms can stop and change their levels of their consumption of oxygen as a group.

Professor Todd Young and his team developed a model that suggests chemicals produced in the process of growth prompts groups of cells to grow in sync while inhibiting other groups.

Scientist observed that in one phase of the yeast life cycle about half the cells grew and divided while the other half was inhibited. In the next phase, the first half was inhibited and the other half divided.

Todd says understanding how yeast move through changes in their life cycle can help researchers using the microorganism for genetic research.  It can also help engineers use yeast more efficiently.

The team's findings were published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

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