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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2009 Feb;21(1):14-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2009.01.008. Epub 2009 Feb 3.

Centriole evolution.

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  • Dept. of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA. wmarshall@biochem.ucsf.edu


Centrioles are cylindrical structures found at the core of the mitotic spindle pole, which also act as basal bodies to nucleate the formation of cilia. Centrioles have a complex, ninefold symmetric structure, and reproduce by an intriguing duplication process. The complexity and apparent self-reproduction of centrioles raises the question of how such a structure could have evolved, making them a favorite topic for theological speculation by 'intelligent design' creationists. In fact, centrioles are capable of robust self-assembly and can tolerate dramatic perturbations while still maintaining basic functionality. Far from being irreducibly complex, centrioles appear to be based on a rather minimal underlying core structure requiring only a handful of genes to construct.

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