On the Processing Power of Protozoa
The ciliated protozoa are a diverse, and ubiquitously occuring, group of unicellular eukaryotic organisms of striking complexity. Almost all ciliates are binucleated; that is, unlike other eukaryotes, they have two types of nuclei: micronuclei and macronuclei. The macronuclei behave functionally as one would typically expect of a eukaryotic nucleus: they express proteins and take care of the general “housekeeping” functions of the cell. Ciliate macronuclei are ampliploid and contain very little non-coding DNA. The diploid micronuclei, arranged much more like a typical eukaryotic nucleus, are inert during the “day-to-day” functioning of the cell and serve instead as a storehouse for germline information.
KeywordsTheoretical Biology Ciliated Protozoan Epigenetic Programming Sexual Process Emergent Complexity
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