Even Yeast Mothers Sacrifice All for Their Babies

Even Yeast Mothers Sacrifice All for Their Babies

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A mother’s willingness to sacrifice her own health and safety for the sake of her children is a common narrative across cultures — and by no means unique to humans alone. Female polar bears starve, dolphin mothers stop sleeping and some spider moms give themselves as lunch for their crawly babies’ first meal.

Now an unexpected discovery at the University of California, San Francisco shows that even yeast “mothers” do it, giving all to their offspring — even at the cost of their own lives. As described in the journal Science, the researchers found that the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae ensures the health of its budding offspring by pushing essential internal structures known as mitochondria into them, continuing to give generous amounts of their mitochondria to their offspring even when it meant hastening their own death.

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