Document Detail


Slime mold uses an externalized spatial "memory" to navigate in complex environments.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23045640     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Spatial memory enhances an organism's navigational ability. Memory typically resides within the brain, but what if an organism has no brain? We show that the brainless slime mold Physarum polycephalum constructs a form of spatial memory by avoiding areas it has previously explored. This mechanism allows the slime mold to solve the U-shaped trap problem--a classic test of autonomous navigational ability commonly used in robotics--requiring the slime mold to reach a chemoattractive goal behind a U-shaped barrier. Drawn into the trap, the organism must rely on other methods than gradient-following to escape and reach the goal. Our data show that spatial memory enhances the organism's ability to navigate in complex environments. We provide a unique demonstration of a spatial memory system in a nonneuronal organism, supporting the theory that an externalized spatial memory may be the functional precursor to the internal memory of higher organisms.
Authors:
Chris R Reid; Tanya Latty; Audrey Dussutour; Madeleine Beekman
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2012-10-08
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  109     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-24     Completed Date:  2013-01-07     Revised Date:  2013-07-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  17490-4     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, and Centre for Mathematical Biology, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. christopher.reid@sydney.edu.au
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Physarum polycephalum / physiology*
Pseudopodia
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