Rapidly developing (rde) mutants of Dictyostelium discoideum, in which cells precociously differentiated into stalk and spore cells without normal morphogenesis, were investigated genetically and biochemically. Genetic complementation tests demonstrated that the 16 rde mutants isolated could be classified into at least two groups (groups A and C) and that the first described rde mutant FR17 (D. R. Sonneborn, G. J. White, and M. Sussman, 1963, Dev. Biol. 7, 79-93) belongs to group A. Morphological studies revealed several differences in development and final morphology between group A and group C mutants. In group A mutants, the time required for cell differentiation from vegetative cells to aggregation competent cells is reduced, whereas the time required for spore and stalk cell differentiation following the completion of aggregation is shortened in group C mutants. This suggests that group C mutants represent a new class of rde mutants and that there exist at least two mechanisms involved in regulating the timing of development in D. discoideum. Measurements of cell-associated and extracellular phosphodiesterase activities, and intracellular and total cAMP levels revealed that cAMP metabolism in both groups is significantly altered during development. Group A mutants showed precocious and excessive production of phosphodiesterase and cAMP during the entire course of development; intracellular cAMP levels in group C mutants were extremely low, and spore and stalk cell differentiation occurred without an apparent increase in these levels. Thus, while cAMP metabolism is abnormal in all the rde mutants studied, there exist several distinct types of derangement, not necessarily involving the overproduction of cAMP.