Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)



First Advisor

Dr. Yonas I. Tekle


Microbial eukaryotes like amoebae have been and still are viewed as asexual organisms. However, current research suggests taht some species of amoebae may participate in sexual-like, or "parasexual" activity. Such interactions are termed parasexual because the conventional stages seen during meiosis are not observed. Nevertheless, an exchange of genetic information, one of the principal characteristics of sexual activity, has been speculated to occur in some amoebozoans such as Cochliopodium. The reason and mechanism for this activity still remains unknown due to the complex and diverse parasexual life cycles in amoebozoans. In this investigation, the amoeba species Cochliopodium pentatrifurcatum was observed for a type of parasexual activity termed fusion, in which the plasma membrane and the nuclei of the cells come together, and then the subsequent activity termed fission, in which the fused amoeba, also known as plasmodium, splits apart into smaller individual cells. The mechanism for fission as well as the behavior of the cells post fission is poorly understood; hence, the focus of this investigation. In order to investigate post fusion activity, cells resulting from fission were used to grow monoclonal cultures, and these cultures were stained and "mixed" to determine if there is a trend in fusing frequency. In addition to this, we also investigated the existence of gametes in the form of small nuclear sized mini-cells. Currently, no "mating types" have been indicated in Cochliopodium pentatrifurcatum due to staining difficulties; however, fusion and fission have been observed in C. pentatrifurcatum cells and is believed to occur through various different mechanisms.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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