Bitty Beasts of Burden: Algae can carry cargo

1:23pm, August 17, 2005

For thousands of years, people have been coaxing other creatures into doing chores. Now, a team of scientists has microsized the strategy. They've devised a way to make single-cell algae bear loads over distances of several centimetersa tactic that the researchers say could prove useful in tiny machines.

Algae and other single-celled organisms power their movements with molecular motors. Scientists have long coveted these motors for use in micromachinery, notes chemist Douglas B. Weibel of Harvard University.

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