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Submission + - Yeast provide clues to evolution of complex life (msn.com)

thebchuckster writes: The budding yeast lives on simple sugars, which it makes by using an enzyme called invertase to chop more complex sugars, like sucrose, into smaller ones, such as glucose and fructose. But because most of these simple sugars escape by diffusing into the surrounding environment, the yeast cell can't consume all the food it makes.

Koschwanez and his team compared the success of single, isolated yeast cells (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) in a low-sucrose solution (table sugar) with that of clumps of yeast cells, formed naturally when the cell walls of the yeast failed to fully separate during cell division. They found that the cells in clumps continued dividing, an indication they were eating well and growing normally, while single cells in the same solution did not divide.

The secret is that the clumped cells happen to help each other out.

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