Letter | Published:

A one-dimensional pattern in the cellular slime mould Polysphondylium pallidum

Nature volume 286, pages 806807 (21 August 1980) | Download Citation



The cellular slime mould Polysphondylium pallidum has a fruiting body with whorls of branches spaced at regular intervals along the stalk (Fig. 1). The spacing between successive whorls is quite regular and under genetic control1. Because stalk cell number per interval correlates strongly with interval length, we have studied the influence of ploidy on the distance between whorls to determine if cell counting could account for the spacing. It is known that diploid spores and amoebae of Dictyostelium discoideum and Polysphondylium violaceum are roughly twice the size of their haploid parents2,3, and we find that stalk cells in P. pallidum follow the same pattern. Our results show that the number of stalk cells between successive whorls in haploids is approximately twice the number in diploids, while the spacing remains the same. This clearly indicates that spacing is not achieved by a cell counting mechanism. Instead, it appears to depend on distance.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    & (in preparation).

  2. 2.

    & J. gen. Microbiol. 28, 417–429 (1962).

  3. 3.

    , & Genetics 83, 25–47 (1976).

  4. 4.

    in Analysis of Development (eds Willier, B.H. Weiss, A. & Hamburger, V.) 126–150 (Saunders, Philadelphia, 1955).

  5. 5.

    Chromosome Botany and the Origins of Cultivated Plants, 3rd edn (Allen and Unwin, London, 1973).

  6. 6.

    Chromosomal Evolution in Higher Plants (Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts, 1971).

  7. 7.

    , Wilhelm Roux Arch. EntwMech. Org. 187, 105–127 (1979).

  8. 8.

    The Cellular Slime Molds (Princeton University Press, 1967).

  9. 9.

    Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 59, 49–84 (1932).

  10. 10.

    Nature 228, 686–687 (1970).

  11. 11.

    Differentiation 15, 187–193 (1970).

  12. 12.

    in The Fungi (eds Ainsworth, G. C., Sparrow, F.K. & Sussman, A.S.) 9–36 (Academic, New York, 1973).

Download references

Author information


  1. Department of Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544

    • F. W. Spiegel
    •  & E. C. Cox


  1. Search for F. W. Spiegel in:

  2. Search for E. C. Cox in:

About this article

Publication history






Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.