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What determines cell size?

Wallace F Marshall1*, Kevin D Young2, Matthew Swaffer3, Elizabeth Wood3, Paul Nurse345, Akatsuki Kimura6, Joseph Frankel7, John Wallingford8, Virginia Walbot9, Xian Qu10 and Adrienne HK Roeder11

Author affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology, University of California, San Francisco, 600 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA

2 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA

3 Cell Cycle Lab, Cancer Research UK, London Research Institute, 44 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3LY, UK

4 Laboratory of Yeast Genetics and Biology, The Rockeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA

5 The Francis Crick Institute, Euston Road 215, London, NW1 2BE, UK

6 Cell Architecture Laboratory, Structural Biology Center, National Institute of Genetics, Yata 1111, Mishima, Shizuoka 411-8540, Japan

7 Department of Biology, University of Iowa, 129 E. Jefferson Street, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA

8 HHMI & Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Texas, Austin, 78712, USA

9 Virginia WalbotDepartment of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 72205, USA

10 Xian Qu, Cornell University, 244 Weill Hall, 526 Campus Rd, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

11 Cornell University, 239 Weill Hall, 526 Campus Rd, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Biology 2012, 10:101  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-10-101

Published: 14 December 2012

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

For well over 100 years, cell biologists have been wondering what determines the size of cells. In modern times, we know all of the molecules that control the cell cycle and cell division, but we still do not understand how cell size is determined. To check whether modern cell biology has made any inroads on this age-old question, BMC Biology asked several heavyweights in the field to tell us how they think cell size is controlled, drawing on a range of different cell types. The essays in this collection address two related questions - why does cell size matter, and how do cells control it.