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A critical analysis of Powell’s results on the interdivision time distribution
Scientific Reports
  • Vincent Quedeville, Université de Toulouse
  • Jérôme Morchain, Institut national des sciences appliquées de Toulouse
  • Philippe Villedieu, Université de Toulouse
  • Rodney O. Fox, Iowa State University
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The cell-age and interdivision-time probability density functions (PDFs) have been extensively investigated since the 1940s due to their fundamental role in cell growth. The pioneering work of Powell established the first relationship between the interdivision-time and cell-age PDFs. In the literature, two definitions for the interdivision-time PDF have been proposed. One stands for the age-at-rupture PDF and is experimentally observable, whereas the other is the probability density that a cell divides at a certain age and is unobservable. From Powell’s results pertaining to the unobservable interdivision-time PDF, Painter and Marr derived an inequality that is true but is incorrectly used by experimentalists to analyse single-cell data. Unfortunately, the confusion between these two PDFs persists. To dissipate this confusion, exact relationships between the cell-age and the interdivision-time PDFs are derived in this work from an age-structured model, which can be used by experimentalists to analyse cell growth in batch and continuous culture modes.


This article is published as Quedeville, Vincent, Jérôme Morchain, Philippe Villedieu, and Rodney O. Fox. "A critical analysis of Powell’s results on the interdivision time distribution." Scientific Reports 9, no. 1 (2019): 8165. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44606-4. Posted with permission.

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Vincent Quedeville, Jérôme Morchain, Philippe Villedieu and Rodney O. Fox. "A critical analysis of Powell’s results on the interdivision time distribution" Scientific Reports Vol. 9 Iss. 1 (2019) p. 8165
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