Mitotic spindle and magnetic poles.

Robert Clark rgregoryclark at
Tue Nov 25 15:50:32 EST 2003

I was allowing the possibility that it could be due either to magnetic
or electrical fields. One sure way to test this would be to subjects
the cells to electrical and/or magnetic fields during the division
 Anyone know if this has been done?

    Bob Clark

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r norman <rsn_ at> wrote in message news:<cfn6sv4nnfcku5egat51kuvm8t4btcq370 at>...
> On 24 Nov 2003 22:06:58 -0800, rgregoryclark at (Robert Clark)
> wrote:
> >Has there been any investigation of the possibility that the origin of
> >the mitotic spindle really is due to electromagnetism?
> > Compare the image on this page:
> >
> >Media: Mitotic Spindle.
> >
> >
> > To the first image on this page:
> >
> >Magnetism.
> >
> >
> There is no reason to believe magnetism is a mechanism just because
> the pictures look similar.  Look at the electric field of a dipole
> to see the same thing.
> The similarty in shape is caused by processes which share some
> superficial similarities but major differences  For the similarities,
> first, there are two separate "organizing centers": the spindle poles
> for mitosis, and the two poles of a magnetic or electric dipole.  At
> each organizing center there is a tendency for lines to radiate from
> the center in all directions.  In both the magnetic and the electric
> dipoles, the tendency is to radiate outward from one of the poles but
> to radiate inward into the other pole.  The result is the
> spinde-shaped pattern of field lines.  There really are strong
> parallels between the magnetic and the electric dipoles -- one pole
> radiates out, the other radiates in.  Add the two together and you get
> the result.
> In the spindle, the process is very different.  The spindle fibers
> radiate outward from both poles.  Some of these, the astral fibers,
> always remain that way.  These do not look at all like the magnetic or
> electric dipole lines but look more like a magnetic or electric
> monopole.  Others meet (either by direct contact as in the polar
> fibers or by connecting to the same chromosome in the kinetochore
> fibers).  These fibers tend to spread out from one pole and then
> rejoin at the other, and so sort of look like the field lines of the
> magnetic or electric dipole.  Since the fibers that attach to the
> chromosomes are the "important" ones, they are the ones shown in all
> the diagrams. 
> So in this case, the similarity is really superficial.  However, the
> cause of science is always furthered by trying to find relationships
> between seemingly very different things -- so keep looking and keep
> asking!

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