cellular slime mold


: any of a group of organisms that exist in their vegetative form as uninucleate amoeboid cells which digest bacteria in soil and decaying plant matter and that aggregate to form a multicellular pseudoplasmodium from which a stalked fruiting body may arise
It is no small irony that although the biochemistry, genetics, and developmental biology of the cellular slime molds are relatively well explored, knowledge of the natural history of these popular experimental organisms remains patchy at best.Roger Lewin, Science, 21 June 1985
Similarly, when food is scarce, the cellular slime molds stop foraging and use a chemical signal to coordinate a cooperative stage in which a substantial proportion of the cells are guaranteed to perish without reproducing.Justin Werfel and Yaneer Bar-Yam, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 27 July 2004

Note: Cellular slime molds are usually classified as a class (Dictyosteliomycetes of the phylum Mycetozoa) or a phylum (Dictyosteliomycota of the subkingdom Protozoa).

Word History

First Known Use

1953, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cellular slime mold was in 1953

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Cite this Entry

“Cellular slime mold.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cellular%20slime%20mold. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

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