back to article Cell division: The engine of life – and of CANCER. Now some of its secrets are revealed

We each begin our existence as a single cell, which divides into new cells which divide into new cells. Old tissues are replaced, wounds heal, our ears – not especially useful – keep on growing even once they're quite big enough, thank you*. Cell division is pretty much the miracle of life – and yet we still don't understand …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Little Mouse Silver badge

      Re: "We all start out as just one cell"

      That's easy for you to say...

    2. Professor Clifton Shallot

      Re: "We all start out as just one cell"

      "Well, to be technically correct, the best kind of correct, we start off as two cells, which is the fun part. These two haploid gametes then combine to form a single-celled diploid zygote."

      Is there anything that could be said to be "us" before the zygote is formed?

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: "We all start out as just one cell"

        Is there anything that could be said to be "us" before the zygote is formed?

        A set of probabilities describing potentials, perhaps? Though that's still mostly the case in the zygote too.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Jan 0
          Boffin

          Re: "We all start out as just one cell"

          Rich 11 asks: "Is there anything that could be said to be "us" before the zygote is formed?"

          I'm sure, that if you were a gamete and you had the power of speech, then you would talk about "us" (gametes).

          BTW, given that 'zygotes' looks like a word with a greek root, do pedants rhyme it with 'Headcoatees'?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "We all start out as just one cell"

        @ clifton shallot

        What came first, the peptide or the nucleotide ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "We all start out as just one cell"

          What came first, the peptide or the nucleotide ?

          Reproduction is not a race to see who can come first.

    3. Mutton Jeff

      Re: "We all start out as just one cell"

      I'd say some people are still just the one

  2. Woza
    Thumb Up

    Fantastic accuracy warning!

    1. Antonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Superb but superfluous?

      I fancy old Reg made a rather fine job of the article altogether.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The most important part which is normally overlooked in these articles are the highly complex DNA repair and correction mechanisms which have rates of accuracy that a data storage manufacturer can only dream of. It's fascinating stuff and a marvel of evolution.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And what about those little protein 'bobbins' that wind up all the DNA so it doesn't get tangled during division? Plus the other two levels of packing that occur? Talk about data compression...

  4. Brent Longborough
    Alert

    At the risk of sounding frivolous ...

    Don't let David Cameron (or his opposition equivalents, whoever they may be) know about this.

    By analogy to cryptography: "cell division causes cancer, so we ought to prohibit it".

    1. NumptyScrub

      Re: At the risk of sounding frivolous ...

      By analogy to cryptography: "cell division causes cancer, so we ought to prohibit it".

      Not quite, I'd assert that the correct analogy is "cancer cells use cell division to propagate, so any cell that uses cell division should be suspected of cancerous activities!"

      It would also seem to suggest that the "cure" could be enacted by allowing the proper authorities unfettered surveillance of all cell division activities, so they can act upon any cancerous divisions and keep us all safe :)

  5. hatti

    Cell division top tip

    Make sure there are no flies in the podule when your cells start dividing -

    J. Goldblum

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  8. Crisp

    "Standard Reg science quality warning"

    Still better than the Daily Mail on a good day.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Facepalm

      Re: "Standard Reg science quality warning"

      Or the Daily Express whose headline writers have turned "This research won't lead directly to a cure for cancer" into them having found a cure for cancer...

    2. mhenriday
      Boffin

      Re: "Standard Reg science quality warning"

      That warning - «The chance that we are following this correctly is roughly the same as that of a man with no arms successfully throwing a handful of jelly through a falling doughnut at thirty yards. Without touching the sides.» - should be taken ad notam, not least when Mr Page pronounces upon climate science and global warming....

      Henri

  9. Aitor 1 Silver badge

    Not only flies

    Also human celss and yeast are good for this.

    My wife is spending her best work years for a low pay at the university.. for the good of humanity. Repayed by "crystal harmony", "jesus loves you, better pray" and mainly "you have less job security than the janitor"

  10. Spaceman Spiff

    Drosophila Melanogaster - the common fruit fly. It's been one of the most important tools in genetic research since the beginning of time. Glad to see it hasn't lost its usefulness! We used them back in the 1960's when I was studying statistical genetics.

    1. elDog

      And homo sapiens

      Drosophila Melanogaster - the common fruit fly. It's been one of the most important tools in genetic research since the beginning of time. Glad to see it hasn't lost its usefulness! We used them back in the 1960's when I was studying statistical genetics.

      Part of the massive computer experiment "Deep Thought" used back in the 10,000's BV.

    2. Pookietoo

      Re: Drosophila Melanogaster

      Sounds like a character from Gormenghast or Discworld.

  11. hatti

    Cell division top tip

    Make sure Jeff Goldblum is in the podule with you as his cells start to divide.

    MWAA HA HA HAAAAA!

    Bzzzt.

    B. Bottle

    1. Mutton Jeff
      Happy

      Re: Cell division top tip

      "What's that you're reading?"

      "A fly-paper"

  12. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    a kinetochore is

    the ability to empty the rubbish, clean house, and take Rover for walkies via telekinesis.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: a kinetochore is

      Sounds awesome! Where do I sign up?

      (Even if these were the *only* things I could do by telekinesis, it still sounds awesome.)

  13. Your alien overlord - fear me

    kinetochore

    The amount of energy required to move on a lady of the night from one street corner to another.

    This is I believe a new standard El Reg measurement (or should be)

  14. Robert D Bank

    The 'El Reg biology desk'...

    shudder...there's a script in there somewhere...

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