genetics
genetics

2. Aggregation

We are starving.

The cAMP signal passes among us.

We move together like mercury coalescing, like rivers flowing into a sea.
Slip and slither and slide to combine.

We are starving, the bacteria are all ingested. There are no more to absorb. Chemicals churn within us, spill out to call to others.
To continue life we have no choice, we are impelled to join together.

We are called, we are attracted. One, then two, then three, more and more. Together we are growing, together we form a gelatinous
multicellular pseudoplasmodium in which we are each still ourselves, unique. Associated cells, working together but still retaining our individuality.

Growing
bigger and bigger.
Our mass grows, now conical
in shape. The tip of the cone reaches
ever higher as more and more come to join
its base. We call to others. There is no food here, we must
join. When we are big enough, when millions of tiny unicellular
creatures have joined in a great mass, then we move on to the next
stage — known as a "slug".

3. Slugs

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Helen Whitehead

Part of this work was submitted as the Dissertation for the MA in Writing

at
Nottingham Trent University

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genetics

Last amended on 21st May 1998 / copyright H. M. Whitehead