I have a question you can ponder over the holiday weekend. Below is a picture of Tetrahymena, a single-celled eukaryotic organism that is related to the paramecium you might have seen in a high school biology class.
And here’s what the critter looks like with an electron microscope:
Time for your quiz.
You are given two flasks, A and B, each filled with a 10 mls of a solution that contains all the nutrients needed for Tetrahymena to survive and grow.
On Friday, you are given a tube that is filled with thriving Tetrahymena and transfer 10,000 of these cells to flask A. Drawing from the same tube, you then add 1,000 cells to flask B. You go home and celebrate Easter, returning to the lab on Monday. You find the cells in flask A to be thriving, having spawned millions of new cells. But when you look at flask B, the cells have not grown and divided. On the contrary, they all died!
Why did the cells in flask B all die in a sea of food?
[Note: I gave this quiz on my previous blog that was hacked, so if you saw that and know the answer, don’t tell.]