Related topics: genes · protein · yeast cells · model organism · cells

Life in evolution's fast lane

Most living things have a suite of genes dedicated to repairing their DNA, limiting the rate at which their genomes change through time. But scientists at Vanderbilt and University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered an ...

Exploiting parasitic yeast to kill yeast pathogens

Insights into the genes and proteins involved in the predatory behavior of a parasitic yeast species could lead to new strategies for controlling yeast pathogens, according to a study published May 9 in the open-access journal ...

Screening for genes to improve protein production in yeast

By silencing genes, researchers have managed to increase protein production in yeast significantly. This method can lay the grounds for engineering better yeast production hosts for industries producing biopharmaceutical ...

Researchers witness the emergence of a new gene in the lab

How do new genes appear? For more than a century, researchers have thought that, from time to time, new gene functions evolved after cells accidentally made a copy of one of their existing genes. According to this theory, ...

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Yeast

Yeasts are eukaryotic microorganisms classified in the kingdom Fungi, with about 1,500 species currently described; they dominate fungal diversity in the oceans. Most reproduce asexually by budding, although a few do so by binary fission. Yeasts are unicellular, although some species with yeast forms may become multicellular through the formation of a string of connected budding cells known as pseudohyphae, or false hyphae as seen in most molds. Yeast size can vary greatly depending on the species, typically measuring 3–4 µm in diameter, although some yeasts can reach over 40 µm.

The yeast species Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used in baking and fermenting alcoholic beverages for thousands of years. It is also extremely important as a model organism in modern cell biology research, and is one of the most thoroughly researched eukaryotic microorganisms. Researchers have used it to gather information about the biology of the eukaryotic cell and ultimately human biology. Other species of yeast, such as Candida albicans, are opportunistic pathogens and can cause infections in humans. Yeasts have recently been used to generate electricity in microbial fuel cells, and produce ethanol for the biofuel industry.

Yeasts do not form a specific taxonomic or phylogenetic grouping. At present it is estimated that only 1% of all yeast species have been described. The term "yeast" is often taken as a synonym for S. cerevisiae, but the phylogenetic diversity of yeasts is shown by their placement in both divisions Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. The budding yeasts ("true yeasts") are classified in the order Saccharomycetales.

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