Pattern Formation in the Fungi

  • Arthur T. Winfree
Part of the Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics book series (IAM, volume 12)


In Chapter 12 we dwelt on a biochemical clock in an ascomycete, the yeast cell. The familiar bread molds and their relatives are also ascomycetes. They are called colonial ascomycetes because of their habits of growth: see Box C in Chapter 8 and Chapter 9. Like animals, these fungi derive their energy by oxidizing organic fuels. Like plants, they grow where the seed falls and feed through roots. An ascomycete colony starts when a spore falls on a food surface. It germinates and extends a fine web of hair-like filaments, called hyphae, across the food as an expanding disk. This two-dimensional disk of hyphae is called a mycelium. It is not really a cellular organism since the septa dividing hyphae into tiny compartments typically have holes in them, so that cytoplasm flows freely between the compartments.


Neurospora Crassa Archimedean Spiral Liesegang Ring Frontier Cell Race Tube 
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  1. 1.
    More exactly, Dharmananda and Feldman (1979) find a phase gradient of about 1/12 hours per days growth, suggesting that young hyphae right on the contemporary frontier cycle that much faster than older hyphae left behind on staled medium.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Probably misnamed. It is not the same as the British N. cinnabarina (the “coral spot fungus”) nor the same as the N. cinnabarina that decimated N.Y. State beech trees in 1975. According to the rather confused taxonomy of order Hypocreales, to which family Nectriaceae belongs, N.c. is the perfect stage of a fungus whose imperfect stage (fusarinm) is called Tubercularia vulgaris (Bessey, 1950, p. 287). Hypomyces may be another name for Nectria. Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur T. Winfree
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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