How did multicellular life evolve? We don’t know! However, fungi are helping us develop ideas about the emergence of complex life. Today we are joined by Dr. William Ratcliff, who has successfully induced naturally unicellular yeast to evolve into multicellular ‘snowflake yeasts’ in his lab at Georgia Tech. Prepare for a delightful interview featuring evolutionary history, biotechnology, semantics, philosophy, and life itself.
Dr. William Ratcliff has his Ph.D. in Ecology evolution and Behavior and runs the Ratcliff lab at Georgia Tech and is the Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Quantitative Biosciences.
The difference between multicellular life and single cellular lifeWhat is an organism?Evolutionary trends and novelties in multicellular lifeCatalyzing multicellular life in vitro Why yeast— specifically saccharomyces cerevisiae — are so widely used in genomics research and biotechnologyThe Ratcliff Lab’s development of multicellular yeasts dubbed ‘snowflake yeast’Mechanistic basics of multicellular yeasts, particularly entanglementPrototaxites and its characteristics of entanglements Cellular differentiation and cellular suicide in evolving snowflake yeasts Reversing multicellular evolution Cyanobacteria, Bangiomorpha pubescens and other early forms of multicellular life Ways that multicellularity can be expressedMyxococcus xanthusAcellular slime moldsHow to grow snowflake yeast at home!Show notes:
The Ratcliff Lab: https://ratclifflab.biosci.gatech.edu/
Grow your own multicellular yeast: http://www.snowflakeyeastlab.com/the%20kit.htm
The Biophysics if nascent multicellularity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WwBiBUcKG4
William Ratcliff’s Publications: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=wdVRIS0AAAAJ&hl=en
Snowflake Yeast Microscopy Photos: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1h7CqrmjId8r50zT6v_1qXoJWMcHa6JJ9?usp=sharing
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