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No. 132: NOV-DEC 2000

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Unidentified Cellular Object

The multitudinous cells that make up our bodies are miniscule factories humming with activity. The microscope reveals mitochondria, chromosomes, centrioles, granules, and a host of entities doing their own things. But even after generations have scrutinized our cells, new objects are discovered. The latest, only recognized in 1986, look like a miniature hand grenades. Called "vaults" these objects are composed of proteins and ribosomal DNA. They exist only in the cells of the higher organisms -- like us. Biologists surmise that they are important in some way but have no idea what they do.

(Anonymous; "Cell Biology Mystery," Science, 289:355, 2000.)

vault: a mammalian cellular object A "vault," a mammalian cellular object of unknown purpose.

From Science Frontiers #132, NOV-DEC 2000. 2000 William R. Corliss

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