Microbial Ecology

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 137–148 | Cite as

Genetic Heterogeneity in Wild Isolates of Cellular Slime Mold Social Groups

  • Santosh SatheEmail author
  • Sonia Kaushik
  • Albert Lalremruata
  • Ramesh K. Aggarwal
  • James C. Cavender
  • Vidyanand NanjundiahEmail author
Original Article


This study addresses the issues of spatial distribution, dispersal, and genetic heterogeneity in social groups of the cellular slime molds (CSMs). The CSMs are soil amoebae with an unusual life cycle that consists of alternating solitary and social phases. Because the social phase involves division of labor with what appears to be an extreme form of “altruism”, the CSMs raise interesting evolutionary questions regarding the origin and maintenance of sociality. Knowledge of the genetic structure of social groups in the wild is necessary for answering these questions. We confirm that CSMs are widespread in undisturbed forest soil from South India. They are dispersed over long distances via the dung of a variety of large mammals. Consistent with this mode of dispersal, most social groups in the two species examined for detailed study, Dictyostelium giganteum and Dictyostelium purpureum, are multi-clonal.


Fruiting Body Dictyostelium Discoideum Animal Dung Cellular Slime Mold Dung Sample 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Suggestions made by the anonymous reviewers added significantly to the analysis; we wish to express our thanks to them. We are grateful to CM Bharanaiah for his help in sample collection; R Sukumar and N Mandal for information regarding animal home ranges and feeding habits; the CES field station in Masinagudi for practical assistance at the collection site; the Director, CCMB, for extending the facilities for molecular analysis; and C. Nizak, R. Sawarkar, and J. T. Bonner for comments on the manuscript. S.S. acknowledges the award of a Senior Research Fellowship from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Santosh Sathe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sonia Kaushik
    • 1
  • Albert Lalremruata
    • 2
  • Ramesh K. Aggarwal
    • 2
  • James C. Cavender
    • 3
  • Vidyanand Nanjundiah
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre for Ecological SciencesIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Centre for Cellular and Molecular BiologyHyderabadIndia
  3. 3.Department of Environmental and Plant BiologyOhio UniversityAthensUSA
  4. 4.Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific ResearchBangaloreIndia

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