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Latest Mycetozoa Stories

2010-05-27 16:42:27

Rice researchers find first to starve in slime mold thrive at others' expense Rice University evolutionary biologists reported in a paper published this week that the first cells to starve in a slime mold seem to have an advantage that not only helps them survive to reproduce, but also pushes those that keep on eating into sacrificing themselves for the common good. The paper by Rice graduate student Jennie Kuzdzal-Fick and her mentors, David Queller and Joan Strassmann, Rice's Harry C. and...

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2010-01-22 08:50:13

The efficient methods of a slime mold could inform human engineers What could human engineers possibly learn from the lowly slime mold? Reliable, cost-efficient network construction, apparently: a recent experiment suggests that Physarum polycephalum, a gelatinous fungus-like mold, might actually lead the way to improved technological systems, such as more robust computer and mobile communication networks. This revelation comes after a team of Japanese and British researchers observed that...

2009-10-01 14:48:30

Cheaters may prosper in the short term, but over time they seem doomed to fail, at least in the microscopic world of amoebas where natural selection favors the noble. But why? Shouldn't "survival of the fittest" give the sneaky cheaters an edge? Not necessarily, as it turns out amoebas that cooperate for the benefit of all "“ and even die for the cause "“ bring their own genetic weapons to the fight. Researchers from Rice University and the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) are...

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2009-08-27 16:00:00

Scientists at the University of the West of England are to design the first ever biological robot using mould.Researchers have received a Leverhulme Trust grant worth £228,000 to develop the amorphous non-silicon biological robot, plasmobot, using plasmodium, the vegetative stage of the slime mould Physarum polycephalum, a commonly occurring mould which lives in forests, gardens and most damp places in the UK.  The Leverhulme Trust funded research project aims to design the first...

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2009-03-12 09:00:00

A Rice University study of microbes from a Houston-area cow pasture has confirmed once again that everything is bigger in Texas, even the single-celled stuff. The tests revealed the first-ever report of a large, natural colony of amoebae clones -- a Texas-sized expanse measuring at least 12 meters across. The research is available online and featured on cover of the March issue of Molecular Ecology. Some large organisms like aspen trees and sea anemones are well-known for growing in large...

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2007-08-08 06:24:31

HOUSTON -- Finding an immune system in the social amoeba (Dictyostelium discoideum) is not only surprising but it also may prove a clue as to what is necessary for an organism to become multicellular, said the Baylor College of Medicine researcher who led the research that appears today in the journal Science. Dictyostelium discoideum usually exists as a single-celled organism. However, when stressed by starvation, the single cells band together to form a slug that can move. Eventually the...

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2006-08-15 07:32:20

In times of plenty, the uni-cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum leads a solitary life munching on bacteria littering the forest floor. But these simple creatures can perform heroic developmental acts: when the bacterial food supply dries up, Dictyostelium amebas band together with their neighbors and form a multi-cellular tower designed to save the children. In a forthcoming study in Nature Chemical Biology, investigators at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Medical...


Word of the Day
negawatt
  • A unit of saved energy.
Coined by Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as a contraction of negative watt on the model of similar compounds like megawatt.