Dictyostelium discoideum AX4

About the Project

Adam Kuspa, BCM, Richard Gibbs, BCM, George Weinstock, BCM
Genome size:
34 Mb

Current Status of the Project

Latest assembly date:
Total number of reads:
Number of contigs:
N50 contig size:
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Policy on Data Release

The amoebozoa are a richly diverse group of organisms whose genomes remain largely unexplored. The soil-dwelling social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum has been actively studied for the past 50 years and has contributed greatly to our understanding of cellular motility, signalling and interaction1. Dictyostelium amoebae inhabit forest soil and consume bacteria and yeast, which they track by chemotaxis. Starvation, however, prompts the solitary cells to aggregate and develop as a true multicellular organism, producing a fruiting body comprised of a cellular, cellulosic stalk supporting a bolus of spores. Thus, Dictyostelium has evolved mechanisms that direct the differentiation of a homogeneous population of cells into distinct cell types, regulate the proportions between tissues and orchestrate the construction of an effective structure for the dispersal of spores. Many of the genes necessary for these processes in Dictyostelium were also inherited by Metazoa and fashioned through evolution for use within many different modes of development.

The amoebozoa are also noteworthy as representing one of the earliest branches from the last common ancestor of all eukaryotes. Each of the surviving branches of the crown group of eukaryotes provides an example of the ways in which the ancestral genome has been sculpted and adapted by lineage-specific gene duplication, divergence and deletion. Comparison between representatives of these branches promises to shed light not only on the nature and content of the ancestral eukaryotic genome, but on the diversity of ways in which its components have been adapted to meet the needs of complex organisms.

References for Dictyostelium discoideum

Eichinger, L., et al. 2005. The genome of the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. Nature 435, 43-57.