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Do Cells Think? Information Acquisition and Processing in Budding Yeast

Do Cells Think? Information Acquisition and Processing in Budding Yeast

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by the Microbiology Section





Do Cells Think? Information Acquisition and Processing in Budding Yeast
Jim Broach
, PhD
Princeton University

A microorganism has to adapt to changing environmental conditions in order to survive. Moreover, cells have to integrate information from multiple inputs to determine an optimal developmental strategy. We have used both genome wide and single cells experiments to examine the means by which the budding yeast Saccharomyces perceives and integrates information about its environment. We find that cells use a variety of means to weigh the incoming information and determine the appropriate response. We also find that genetically identical cells given the same set of complex conditions often opt for different courses of action. Thus, we conclude that yeast exhibit a level of memory and information processing that has not been normally associated with single cells, suggesting that such organisms do in fact have the capacity to "think."