PerspectiveCell Biology

Forced to Be Unequal

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Science  29 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6004, pp. 597-598
DOI: 10.1126/science.1198343

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A prominent way for an organism to develop many different cell types is to have cells divide unequally, generating daughter cells that differ in composition and fate, and often also in size. The importance of this process, called asymmetric cell division, for the development of multicellular organisms is undisputed (1). On page 677 of this issue, Ou et al. (2) describe a mechanism for generating unequal-sized daughter cells that is based on contracting one cell half by the action of the cytoskeletal motor protein myosin.