06 Jan 2014 · Press release · Sections

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii - a fast swimmer serves as a model organism

The video shows the helical movements of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii in the light microscope. Related to its body index C. reinhardtii swims approx. 12 times faster than the world record holder in 50-m breast-stroke swimming.

Phycologists of the Botanical Society of Germany have selected Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as alga of the year 2014. This unicellular green alga is distributed throughout the world, is able to sense light, is a fast swimmer and is highly appreciated by algal and plant researchers as well as medical scientists as a model organism. Chlamydomonas even provides the basis for the establishment of novel scientific areas in neurobiology and medicine, such as optogenetics where genetically modified cells are applied as ‘light switches’. The Phycology Section introduces the model organism on its website.

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