Santa Fe Institute Collaboration Platform

COMPLEX TIME: Adaptation, Aging, & Arrow of Time

Get Involved!
Contact: Amy P. Chen, Program Manager,

Aging in Single-celled Organisms: from Bacteria to the Whole Tree of Life/Stochasticity, immortality, and mortality in E. coli

From Complex Time

February 10, 2020
10:45 am - 11:15 am


Lin Chao (UC San Diego)


Here we show that the bacterium Escherichia coli exhibits both lineage mortality and immortality.  The outcome depends on a whether a balance is achieved between damage accumulation and the asymmetric allocation of damage from mother to daughters. At low damage rates, both old and new daughters, which are allocated respectively more and less damage, generated immortal lineages that achieved stable growth rate equilibria. At high rates, mortality ensued because while the new daughter lineage persisted, the old daughter lineage stopped dividing.  The stoppage was found to result from an increase in the stochasticity of cell growth.

Presentation file(s)
Related files