A brainless, primeval organism able to navigate a maze might help Japanese scientists devise the ideal transport network design. Not bad for a mono-cellular being that lives on rotting leaves.
Amoeboid yellow slime mold has been on Earth for thousands of years, living a distinctly un-hi-tech life, but, say scientists, it could provide the key to designing bio-computers capable of solving complex problems.
Toshiyuki Nakagaki, a professor at Future University Hakodate says the organism, which he cultivates in petri dishes, "organises" its cells to create the most direct root through a maze to a source of food.
He says the cells appear to have a kind of information-processing ability that allows them to "optimise" the route along which the mold grows to reach food while avoiding stresses - like light - that may damage them.