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Macrocysts in the Life Cycle of the Dictyosteliaceae. II. Germination of the Macrocysts

Ann Weinkauff Nickerson and Kenneth B. Raper
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 60, No. 3 (Mar., 1973), pp. 247-254
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2441215
Page Count: 8
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Macrocysts in the Life Cycle of the Dictyosteliaceae. II. Germination of the Macrocysts
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Abstract

Macrocyst germination was demonstrated in the five species of the Dictyosteliaceae known to produce these structures. The morphological changes that occurred during germination appeared to be identical in all of the strains examined, showing the following stages: (1) swelling of the dark, contracted content of the dormant cysts, (2) gradual loss of color and reappearance of cells within what previously appeared as a homogeneous protoplasmic mass, and (3) rupture of the heavy cellulosic cyst wall to liberate the myxamoebae. The age of the macrocyst appeared to be the most critical factor in determining whether or not germination would occur, since the cysts in many of the strains needed to age for several weeks or months before germination could be demonstrated. In Dictyostelium mucoroides strain DM-7, upon which the current study was centered, light was necessary to stimulate germination of young macrocysts-a requirement that gradually diminished as the cysts aged. The rate of germination and the temperature permitting germination were also age dependent: older macrocysts germinated more rapidly and at considerably higher temperatures than did young cysts. Although light was not essential for germination in every strain, the results obtained with strain DM-7 seem to be generally applicable to the germination process.

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