Apoptosis is an evolutionally conserved cell suicide program used by various organisms to selectively eliminate dangerous, superfluous, or damaged cells. Since the first description of apoptosis in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) by F. Madeo, several orthologues of crucial mammalian apoptotic proteins have been discovered. Still, the phenomenon of yeast cells undergoing apoptosis has long been controversial, in part because of doubts of whether cell suicide could constitute an advantage for unicellular organisms. However, the evolutionary benefit of a suicide program in yeast is underscored by accumulating studies describing yeast apoptosis during ageing, mating, sporulation, or colony development and, thus, giving a unicellular organism causes to die for.
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