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September 22 2012

Slime Molds Take Over the Globe


By traveling from city to city on a map, microscopic protists known as slime molds have figured out how to take over the world.

Starting in Beijing, the slime mold Physarum polycephalum developed a well-organized network for global domination that mimicked historic trade routes like Asia’s Silk Road. The work, carried out by computer scientist Andrew Adamatzky from the University of the West of England, was published on arxiv on Sept. 18.

“The main idea of these experiments was to satisfy my curiosity — what would happen if the Chinese decided to “expand” their country and colonize the world,” wrote Adamatzky in an e-mail to Wired.

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