Myxobacterial development requires the coordinated action of both intracellular and intercellular signalling pathways. A dataset of myxobacterial developmental gene properties suggests that genes encoding components of intracellular pathways tend to be less conserved, yield less severe phenotypes upon deletion and lie closer to the chromosomal origin than intercellular signalling genes. It would seem that there is a stronger negative selection affecting the mutation of intercellular signalling pathway genes than intracellular genes. Presumably, this is because the loss of social behaviour (and consequently sporulation) upon mutation of an intercellular gene is profoundly detrimental to the perpetuation of the organism. Conversely, mutation of an intracellular gene would typically result in a socially capable mutant. The correlations presented here between the severity of phenotype, genomic location and the degree of sequence conservation should aid rational exploration of the genomics of social development in the myxobacteria.