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The Internet Resource for Students of Physarum polycephalum and Other Acellular Slime Molds
Slime molds are fascinating organisms and have long been used as model systems for research on many of the most important questions about how living organisms function. PhysarumPlus is for those who are interested in and/or work on Physarum polycephalum or other acellular slime molds. Acellular slime molds (Myxomycetes) are distinguished from cellular slime molds (Acrasiales) because the plasmodium (which is diploid) is a syncytium produced by multiple nuclear divisions (karyokinesis) without cytokinesis. Interestingly, in Physarum amoebae (the haploid gametes) karyokinesis is followed by cytokinesis. [For more information on the life cycle of acellular slime molds and the kinds of research that life cycle has facilitated, see many of the sections below, starting with Mission and Brief History and proceeding to the others as you find most appropriate for your purposes.] This nearly-unique dichotomy (karyokinesis with/without cytokinesis) is one of the many reasons why so many bio-medical scientists have chosen Physarum as one of the model systems on which to conduct research. The community of scholars who study Physarum welcomes the interest and input of the general public and, in particular, students who may be contemplating a career in the biological sciences. In the various sections below we seek to serve both the scientists who carry out research on this fantastic 'resource' organism and to help others understand why we find it so enticing!
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