Popping cells surprise living circuits creators: "Biochemistry graduate student Philippe Marguet said the research team looked at many factors to try to explain how the bacteria sensed the size of their colonies. 'In the end, it turns out that the (number of copies of) plasmid increases with cell density. This is the critical link that enables the cells to sense their density and to commit suicide at sufficiently high densities.'
'We ran computer models and experiments to show that this is indeed the case,' Marguet said. 'Our results underscore the importance of the amount of plasmids and the potential impact of hidden interactions on the behavior of engineered gene circuits.'"