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Mathematical Physics Seminar

Webinar: Edo Kussell: Evolutionary advantage of cell size control

Location:  Zoom
Date & time: Wednesday, 15 May 2024 at 10:45AM - 11:45AM



Edo Kussell – New York University

Wednesday, May 15th, 10:45AM EDT 


Evolutionary advantage of cell size control

Molecular mechanisms that control cell growth and division enable bacteria and other microorganisms to maintain a narrow range of cell sizes within a population. While the control of cell size is ubiquitous in biology, the evolutionary benefit of maintaining a characteristic cell size is not understood in detail. In this talk, I will analyze the advantage of cell size control strategies in growing populations of bacteria using a transfer operator formulation. I will discuss how mortality can select for accurate cell size control, and derive an analytical expression for the optimal cell size. I will show that epigenetic heritability of cell size gives bacteria an evolutionary advantage by enabling selection to act on the distribution of cell sizes in a population to reduce mortality rates. I will discuss these results in the context of experimental measurements in bacteria, and their implications for the evolution of size control mechanisms.

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