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Press Release 11-263

Close Family Ties Keep Microbial Cheaters in Check, Study Finds

Experiments on "slime mold" explain why almost all multicellular organisms begin life as a single cell

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Image of the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum.

The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum is the subject of a new study of evolution.

Credit: Owen Gilbert


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Image of rotting logs on the forest floor.

Rotting logs on the forest floor are among Dicty's favorite habitats.

Credit: State of Washington


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Illustration of Dicty's basic life cycle.

Dicty's basic life cycle is that of a social amoeba.

Credit: Wikipedia


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Image of the multicellular bodies formed when Dicty starves.

Dicty preys on bacteria in soil. When Dicty starves, it forms a multicellular body.

Credit: Scott Solomon


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Illustration showing the vegetative and social cyles of Dicty.

Some 20% of Dicty cells at times support 80% of spores.

Credit: David Brown and Joan Strassmann


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Cover of the December 16, 2011 issue of the journal Science.

The researchers' work is described in the December 16, 2011 issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright AAAS 2011


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