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Friday Whatsit for December 31, 2010

December 31, 2010

What is it?

The last Whatsit of the year (!!!) should be a challenging one, because, well, what else are you going to do on New Year’s Day?  Clean out your closets?  This is much more fun!

The Whatsit this week is like the mitochondria Whatsit back in June.  We’re looking for the name of the cell structure that is pictured here. Some clues:

If I had added a stain for DNA, we would see that within each enclosed space there is a single nucleus, meaning that the cell structure in question is found around the edge of each cell, within the cell membrane. There are about 100 individual cells in this picture, but the structure in question connects them and allows them to work together as a unit.

And in case you are wondering, the scale bar in the lower righthand corner of the image is 20 microns /micrometers in length* or about 5 times smaller than the diameter of a typical human hair.  That’s why we call it Tiny Science!

Soooo. . . put your cell biology thinking caps (and maybe an ice pack if you overdo it with the champagne tonight) on your heads and think of a guess for the comments section.  Answer on the first Monday of the New Year!

*One micron = 1/1000th of a millimeter


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