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Ameba

An amoeba (; rarely spelled amœba, US English spelled ameba; plural am(o)ebas or am(o)ebae ), often called amoeboid, is a type of cell or organism which has the ability to alter its shape, primarily by extending and retracting pseudopods. Amoebas do not form a single taxonomic group; instead, they are found in every major lineage of eukaryotic organisms. Amoeboid cells occur not only among the protozoa, but also in fungi, algae, and animals. Microbiologists often use the terms "amoeboid" and "amoeba" interchangeably for any organism that exhibits amoeboid movement. In older classification systems, most amoebas were placed in the class or subphylum Sarcodina, a grouping of single-celled organisms that possess pseudopods or move by protoplasmic flow. However, molecular phylogenetic studies have shown that Sarcodina is not a monophyletic group whose members share common descent. Consequently, amoeboid organisms are no longer classified together in one group. The best known amoeboid protists are the "giant amoebae" Chaos carolinense and Amoeba proteus, both of which have been widely cultivated and studied in classrooms and laboratories. Other well known species include the so-called "brain-eating amoeba" Naegleria fowleri, the intestinal parasite Entamoeba histolytica, which causes amoebic dysentery, and the multicellular "social amoeba" or slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum.
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