Pioneering work carried out over 60 years ago discovered that bacterial cell size is proportional to the growth rate set by nutrient availability. This relationship is traditionally referred to as the ‘growth law’. Subsequent studies revealed the growth law to hold across all orders of life, a remarkable degree of conservation. However, recent work suggests the relationship between growth rate, nutrients, and cell size is far more complicated and less deterministic than originally thought. Focusing on bacteria and yeast, here we review efforts to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the relationship between growth rate and cell size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)908-919
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Cell Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • cell cycle
  • cell growth
  • cell size
  • metabolism
  • nutrients


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