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  Section: Introduction to Botany » The Basidiomycetes
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The Basidiomycetes

Puffballs are another form of Basidiomycetes. They grow to varying sizes. While they often measure approximately one inch across, the diameter can sometimes be measured in feet. A very large puffball is estimated to produce trillions of spores, a somewhat smaller one, billions of spores. If two of a number of billions of spores should successfully grow new puffballs, the population of them would double, and one would conclude from this that
Clamp connections, a mechanism that maintains the arrangement of plus and minus nuclei in each cell.
Figure 20-10 Clamp connections, a
mechanism that maintains the
arrangement of plus and
minus nuclei in each cell .
the chances of their reproduction is extremely slight. Yet, they are common. They are also edible.

Remember that of the two nuclei in a dikaryotic cell, one is plus and the other minus. An elegant mechanism called a clamp connection ensures that when cells divide, the same arrangement of nuclei is maintained (see figure 20-10). A small lateral branch forms on the side of a terminal cell. This branch curves back to the hypha, makes contact with it, and constructs a passageway through which a nucleus can migrate. A new cell wall then forms. Nuclear migration ensures that daughter cells continue to have the plus and minus arrangement of nuclei. The formation of the side branch is suggestive of crozier formation in ascomycetes.


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