The sorting behavior of Dictyostelium discoideum Ax-2 cells and its relation to the cell-cycle phase at the onset of starvation were analyzed with reference to pattern formation, using beta-galactosidase as a cell marker and the temperature-shift method for cell synchronization. Cells transformed with the vector pAct15-Gal showed different sorting behavior during development when they were starved at different cell-cycle phases. Cells (T7) starved at the mid-late G2 phase (just before the PS-point from which cells enter the differentiation phase when starved) aggregated most rapidly and possibly functioned as aggregation centers, but were eventually sorted out to the posterior zone of migrating slugs. In contrast, T1 cells starved at the late G2 phase (just after the PS-point) exhibited slower aggregation compared with T7 cells. During further culture, T1 cells then sorted out to the apical tips of tipped aggregates and were located predominantly in the anterior zone of migrating slugs. Thus, T1 and T7 cells apparently interchange their positions in the cell masses during tip formation. The possible significance of cell-cycle-related sorting presented here is discussed, with special emphasis on pattern formation and cell differentiation.