Washington, Jan 22 (ANI): A new study has shown that lowly slime mold
can actually lead to improved technological systems, such as more robust computer and mobile communication networks.
Unlike a fungus, each slime mold
at some stage turns into a creeping blob that engulfs its prey and slithers on like a B-movie science-fiction alien.
Scatter a bunch of politicians in a big park in the proximity of a news camera and you'll really see slime mold
Mealtime: The slime mold
arrives at the oat flake and chows down.
This exercise makes use of a plasmodial slime mold
known as Physarum polycephalum.
We recorded 260 taxa, including 136 species of vascular plants, 45 fungi and slime molds
, 22 aquatic invertebrates, 1 fish, 3 amphibians, 2 reptiles, 6 mammals, and 45 birds.
Researchers have identified a cellular structure in the brains of people with Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases--called a Hirano body--that is also present in a slime mold
common in the park.
Andrew Adamatzky (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK) and Theresa Schubert (Bauhaus-University Weimar, Germany) have constructed logical circuits that exploit networks of interconnected slime mold
tubes to process information.
Stachybotrys is a slime mold
that can produce toxic chemicals called mycotoxins.
When presented with oat flakes arranged in the pattern of Japanese cities around Tokyo, a single-celled slime mold
constructs networks of nutrient-channeling tubes strikingly similar to the layout of the Japanese rail system, researchers report January 22 in Science.
Just as the slime mold
is one of the best-studied examples of cooperative behavior, the future of biology calls for greater inter-disciplinary collaboration, according to a National Research Council Committee on the direction of the field.
The program's "Bio Blitzes," during which participants search for as many possible species from a particular group of organisms in a short amount of time, have yielded more than 130 new records of moths and butterflies, 21 soil series (similar to species), and two new slime mold