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largest cell on Earth?

John E. Anderson jander at OSPREY.UNF.EDU
Wed Feb 19 11:07:04 EST 1997

Pflieger Jean-Francois wrote:

> If I remember well, there is an alguae which is visible without
> microscopic intrument (ressembling as a small "flower"), but has only one
> cytoplasmic compartment and one nucleus... a good large cell no? :-)

and in another post, steve gehnrich said:

>        But it would seem that the largest cell in the world belongs to
>the genus Caulerpa, a single-celled alga.  This was described by
>William Jacobs in Scientific American (December 1994, pp. 100-105).

A quick look at that Sci Am article reveals that Caulerpa has multiple
nuclei.  Laurie Davison, in a response to my post about the
root-system-dwelling 100-foot fungus I saw in Science or Nature a few
years back, said:

>   I believe you're referring to the "slime mold", which is a biological 
>oddity. It *is* single celled, resembles a giant amoeba, but is 
>multi-nucleate. They have potential to be huge, though I don't know the 
>largest on record. 

Since Caulerpa has multiple nuclei, and is considered to be a single
cell, it looks like the slime mold/fungus I posted about has Caulerpa
beat as the largest cell, if *IT* was a single cell. But, referring to
the article about the hundred-foot fungus, Brian Scott said:

>I remember seeing that too.  I don't think it was a single cell though, 
>but was considered to be a single organism.

I think Brian may be right, but I can't get to any back issues to
check.  Does someone else have a clearer memory of the article?

John E. Anderson
jander at unf.edu

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