What is Fission yeast?

We work with yeast as a model system to understand genome maintenance mechanisms. Our favorite yeast is Fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.
DIC image of S. pombe cells
cell cycle arrest causes cell elongation
when you stain DNA and cell wall
when the cell cycle is arrested

Yeast may remind you of "bread", "wine" or "beer". We have lived with yeast for thousands of years. This yeast is called "Baker's yeast" or Brewer's yeast", known as Budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (cerevisiae means beer in Latin). Budding yeast reproduces by budding until the daughter cell becomes the same size as mother cells.
[DIC image of S. cerevieiae was kindly provide by Dr. Katrina F. Cooper]

In contrast, fission yeast is a bit more like human than budding yeast. Fission yeast reproduces by splitting down the middle into two identical cells. Both are called yeast but they diverged a long time ago. Actually, the genetical distance between two yeasts is similar to the distance between either yeast and human. Therefore, things conserved between the two yeasts are usually conserved across evolution, off course, even in humans.

Although they are genetically quite divergent, both yeasts make beer. Actually, "pombe" means "beer" in Swahili. Yes, S. pombe is originally isolated in beer in Eastern Africa. Because of their powerful gentics, both yeasts have been served as exceptional model systems to understand biological functions

To learn more about S. pombe, go to Pombeweb.

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Copy right (C) 2004 Eishi Noguchi