a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Wallowing in the developmental aspects of slime mold


Demonstrating chemotaxis in development
John Bonner Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

Largely through the work of Paul Weiss, and it's wonderful work, on animal embryos - he was of the very strong opinion, and he liked to influence everybody else, including me, that chemotaxis was not something that you found in developing systems, but that it was what he called contact guidance, which it felt its way along. And although there was all… Anyhow that was the situation when I entered the battlefield. And so I tried to do all sorts of experiments, which would test this and I finally found one which I didn't have much faith in, but it turned out to be the answer. And that is that if you moved water around the central point of this aggregation that it carried something downstream which caused these amoebae downstream to orient up and crawl against it. And that kind of taxis is the same thing as if you have heat, if you had little heat spots. And so I had to look to be sure that it wasn't me. And I forget now exactly how we did it; it was a fairly simple experiment. And so the question that Paul Weiss had put before all of us was: a) did you have chemotaxis in development, yes; b) how can you demonstrate it so that you don't get a lot of arguments?

John Tyler Bonner (born in 1920) is an emeritus professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. He is a pioneer in the use of cellular slime molds to understand evolution and development and is one of the world's leading experts on cellular slime molds. He says that his prime interests are in evolution and development and that he uses the cellular slime molds as a tool to seek an understanding of those twin disciplines. He has written several books on developmental biology and evolution, many scientific papers, and has produced a number of works in biology. He has led the way in making Dictyostelium discoideum a model organism central to examining some of the major questions in experimental biology.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Paul Weiss

Duration: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

Date story recorded: February 2016

Date story went live: 14 September 2016