It has been widely assumed that, in single-celled organisms, each cell perceives its environment -- and responds to stress conditions -- individually. Likewise, it had been thought that cells in multicellular organisms respond the same way, but scientists have now discovered otherwise. In studies of the worm C. elegans, they found that authority is taken away from individual cells and given to two specialized neurons to sense temperature stress and organize an integrated molecular response for the entire organism.
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