Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. A. Thomas Weber


Introduction: Cellular slime molds of the genus Dictyostelium have attracted the interest of developmental biologists for many years. They are used extensively to investigate the factors controlling development in multicellular organisms. This is largely due to the unique growth and developmental characteristics which the dictyostelids exhibit. Unlike higher eukaryotes, in which cell growth and morphogenesis coincide and are often interdependent, the cellular slime molds possess distinct and separate growth and developmental phases. This greatly simplifies the study of developmental processes making the cellular slime molds valuable research organisms. Other factors which make the dictyostelids desirable research organisms are: l) They follow a simple developmental pattern when compared to higher eukaryotic organisms. Cell differentiation occurs from a single cell type, a free-living uninucleate myxamoeba, into two new cell types, stalk cells and spore cells. 2) Growth and development occurs rapidly when compared with other eukaryotes. Depending upon environmental conditions a mature cell population may be obtained in a few days. 3) Suitable environmental conditions for growth and development are relatively inexpensive and easy to provide. 4) Mutagenesis and cloning of individual strains is readily accomplished.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Biology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1985 David L. Kelly.

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