Methods of Studying Genetic Processes in Organisms of the Paramecium aurelia Species Group
In contrast to other organisms that have been the basis of genetic studies in the past (Drosophila, peas, maize, Neurospora, E. coli, etc.), Paramecium is very unusual. It has both micronuclei and macronuclei, and a wealth of nuclear processes that are especially useful for genetic analysis, from conjugation to autogamy to macronuclear regeneration (see Chapter 3). As we will see, it also sometimes exchanges cytoplasm with its partner in conjugation, and it does so in amounts that can be measured. In spite of its peculiarities, it has many characteristics of other forms of life that can be used for studying genetics by standard methods. We will pay particular attention to some of these features that are especially characteristic of Paramecium and do not exist in higher organisms.