Sex and Sacrifice

Science  10 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6010, pp. 1487-1488
DOI: 10.1126/science.1199899

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The soil amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, commonly known as a slime mold, has an asexual reproduction cycle that has made it a well-studied model organism. When starved, it creates streams of cells that use chemical cues (chemotaxis) to form aggregates, then migrating “slugs,” and finally spore-bearing fruiting bodies. The amoeba also has a less studied sexual cycle and is known for having three sexes, known as mating types I, II, and III. On page 1533 of this issue, Bloomfield et al. (1) put the sexual part of the slime mold's life cycle on a solid molecular footing.