4. Towards culmination

Although each of us is an individual amoeba, we aggregate following chemical instructions, forming a pseudoplasmodium in the shape of a slug. When the migrating slug stops, we know we have reached our final place. Rising, rising towards the light, we resist gravity. We are impelled by a genetic programming we are not aware of.

Our DNA works differently now, to produce new species of RNA never seen within our cells before. This is how we begin to differentiate, until we form the fruiting body. Stalk and spore head, sorophore and sorus.

The places we take up now, the part we play, is dependent on when we joined that aggregation back in the beginning. The first to join now become the lower stalk, the next to come form the upper stalk and spore cells, and those who arrive in the last stages of aggregation become the basal disc.

But still if we become separated from one another now, we can return to that amoeboid state and wait for a better opportunity, wait for the signal to come again. When the environment is right, the spores in the head will be dispersed onto the ground to start the life cycle again.

sorocarp5. Sorocarp

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Helen Whitehead

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

Nottingham Trent University

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