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quorum sensing

[ kwôrəm ]
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A phenomenon in which a population of bacteria produces and responds to intercellular chemical signals whose concentration indicates the density of the population. When the density reaches a certain level, genes are expressed that allow for coordinated group behavior, as in bioluminescence or the formation of biofilms.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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