Single-cell growth and division dynamics showing epigenetic correlations

Analyst. 2005 Mar;130(3):311-7. doi: 10.1039/b409860a. Epub 2005 Jan 31.


The emergence of variation and subsequent inheritance of the emergent characteristics in a clonal population of bacteria is considered as evidence for epigenetic processes in the cell. We report here the results of experiments in which we quantitatively examined variations in single Escherichia coli cells with an identical genetic endowment in order to establish whether certain characteristics of single cells were inherited by their descendants maintained in a uniform environment. Significantly large variations of interdivision time, initial length, and final length were observed from generation to generation. Comparing the generations shows that interdivision time had no correlation with that of the consecutive generations, whereas those of initial length and final length were positively correlated with those of neighbouring generations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriological Techniques / methods
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Division
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Microchip Analytical Procedures / methods