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Preface/Front Matter

Michael N. Hall, Martin Raff, George Thomas


Cell growth (increase in cell mass or size) is a highly regulated process, being subject to both temporal and spatial controls. It is usually coupled with cell division (increase in cell number) to give rise to an organ or organism of a characteristic size. In other cases, cell growth and cell division are unlinked; examples include oogenesis, muscle hypertrophy in response to an increased workload, and synapse strengthening during memory storage. Many of the molecules and mechanisms that control cell growth have been conserved in evolution from yeast to humans. Indeed, cell growth, along with cell division and cell death, is one of the most basic aspects of cell behavior. Furthermore, dysfunction of the signaling pathways controlling cell growth results in cells of altered size and can lead to developmental errors and contribute to a wide variety of pathological conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and inflammation. Considering its fundamental importance and clinical relevance, cell growth has not received as much attention as it deserves. We hope that this book will help redress this situation.

Creating this volume was an ambitious task, as cell growth is a broad and multifaceted subject. In 1957 (Cancer Research 17: 727–757), M.M. Swann defined cell growth as “a not too precise shorthand word for those synthetic processes that do not appear, as yet, to be immediately connected with division and which provide the bulk of new protoplasm.” To provide boundaries, while at the same time leaving some leeway, we asked the authors to provide their

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