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Chapter 43 : The Bacterial Chromosome: A Physical Biologist’s Apology. A Perspective

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The Bacterial Chromosome: A Physical Biologist’s Apology. A Perspective, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

I entered the bacterial chromosome field in 2004 as a fresh Ph.D. trained in theoretical physics. Ten years is not long enough for one to gain the depth and breadth of a scientific discipline of long history, certainly not for an early career scientist to write an essay of the status of (Hardy 1940). Nevertheless, I agreed to write this perspective as a physicist who entered biology, because my colleagues are often curious to know what drives physicists to become (physical) biologists, and makes them stay in biology despite many challenges. I also wanted to share several lessons I have learned because, while some of them are personal and specific to my field, I have a good reason to believe that they might resonate with many future travelers. This perspective is for them.

Citation: Jun S. 2016. The Bacterial Chromosome: A Physical Biologist’s Apology. A Perspective, p 171-176. In Schaechter M, In the Company of Microbes: 10 Years of Small Things Considered. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819606.ch43
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Citation: Jun S. 2016. The Bacterial Chromosome: A Physical Biologist’s Apology. A Perspective, p 171-176. In Schaechter M, In the Company of Microbes: 10 Years of Small Things Considered. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819606.ch43
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Fig. 1. The spindle paradox in At the slowest growth rates, the chromosome rests in B/G1 before the replication period C/S starts. This is as in eukaryotes, and in principle hypothetical spindles can separate the duplicating regions (1 and 1´) to the opposite poles of the cell (red arrows). At faster growth rates, however, replication is continuous and multiple rounds of replication cycles overlap. The illustration on the right shows four copies of duplicates Ori’s. The hypothetical spindles in this case will make the 1´ and 2 swap their positions. That is, the spindles would eventually mix the chromosomes, rather than separate them.

Adapted from: Youngren B, Nielsen HJ, Jun S, Austin S. 2014. The multifork chromosome is a self-duplicating and self-segregating thermodynamic ring polymer. 28:71-84.

Citation: Jun S. 2016. The Bacterial Chromosome: A Physical Biologist’s Apology. A Perspective, p 171-176. In Schaechter M, In the Company of Microbes: 10 Years of Small Things Considered. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819606.ch43
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Suckjoon Jun is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics, Section of Molecular Biology at the University of California, San Diego.

Citation: Jun S. 2016. The Bacterial Chromosome: A Physical Biologist’s Apology. A Perspective, p 171-176. In Schaechter M, In the Company of Microbes: 10 Years of Small Things Considered. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819606.ch43
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References

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1. Goodsell DSThe Machinery of LifeA Mathematician’s Apology1992Cambridge, UK.Cambridge University Press,Springer, Berlin Hardy GH. 1940.
2. Maaloe O, Kjeldgaard NEControl of macromolecular synthesis: A study of DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis in bacteria,1966W. A. Benjamin.
3. Mitchison JMThe Biology of Cell Cycle1971Cambridge, UKCambridge University Press

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