Contrary to an earlier report suggesting clonal immortality in Paramecium caudatum, the clones of the same species in this study terminated inevitably with a maximal life-span of 658 fissions and showed, prior to clonal death, decreased fission rate, increased probability of the appearance of non-dividing or dead cells after cell division, and increased frequency of morphological abnormality and of division asynchrony. Clonal senescence and death after a limited number of fissions was reproducible even if subclones derived from the original clone of a known fission age were examined again after a lag of 468 days. These results indicate that clones of P. caudatum are mortal and that they use fissions, not days, to measure life-span. Possible causes for the discrepancies between the earlier report and the present one are discussed.

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