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Biology Articles » Reproductive Biology » Amoebas Use "Midwives" To Reproduce
Giving birth has never been easy. Nature seems to have decided that whoever wants to procreate should put in an effort. Sometimes the process of birth, the physical separation from offspring, is so difficult that a mother needs a helping hand. And humans are not alone in this trait. An interdisciplinary research team at the Weizmann Institute has discovered that "midwives" also play a role in the microscopic world of amoebas. It is this collaborative birth process, reported in the March 21, 2001 issue of Nature, that has given amoebas an evolutionary edge.
The researchers plan to further investigate this phenomenon, in particular the precise composition of the attractant, its mechanism of release by amoebas undergoing division, and the nature of the "midwife's" receptor. This study may contribute to future attempts to control amoeba-borne infectious diseases, such as dysentery, through new therapies targeting amoeba reproduction.
Weizmann Institute. March 23, 2001.
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