February 21, 2006

Sophisticated Diatom Language..

Advancement in technology have improved, fastened and made our ways of communication more sophisticated. Do we, the humans sitting in the top of the food chain, use these communication methods to spread good will? What about the tiny little organisms like my diatoms sitting in the bottom of the food chain do? Do they communicate? My lab’s latest research work was published in today’s PLoS Biology issue.It is about how Assaf and other scientist of my lab decoded the sophisticated Diatom Language. These unicellular organisms communicate using chemicals signals to alert the neighboring cell, when they are attacked by the predators. The wounded cells produce chemicals, which is harmful to the enemies, but alerts (triggers the immunity in) the neighboring ‘healthy’ cells. Yeah! This language is spoken by the Diatoms in death bed and it is nothing but the blessings and good wishes for the well being of its fellow diatoms. Wow! What a wonderful way of ‘chemical’ communication.

Zooming into the bloom: cell-to-cell signaling in the sea. (Illustration: Nivi Alroy)

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