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Abstract

Gametogenesis of a compound ascidian Botryllus primigenus was studied histologically. On either side of the zooid (stage 9), in the gonadal space between the epidermis and the atrial epithelium, either a single testis or a complex of an egg follicle and a testis can be formed. The egg follicle consists of a single ovum (occasionally two ova) and its accessory cells and is connected with the atrial epithelium by the follicle stalk. The egg follicle is always accompanied by the brood pouch, a diverticulum of the atrial cavity. The testis is equipped with a vestigial spermiduct and is attached to the atrial epithelium.

Buds of stage 8 comprise, besides the developing testes and, egg follicles, loose aggregations of hemoblasts and oocytes of early developmental stages, which are already accompanied by primary follicular cells. Both the oocytes and the primary follicular cells seem to arise from the hemoblasts. The young oocytes are isolated in the gonadal space of the buds nnd are transferred to buds of the succeeding generations until they finally mature.

In the bud of stage 3, a compact mass of cells appears, attaching to tbe inner vesicle on either side of the body. It is derived from the hemoblasts lodged there in the preceding generation and presumably also from the circulating hemoblasts. When the cell mass receives a large oocyte derived from the preceding generation, part of the cell mass differentiates into egg envelopes, forming an egg follicle, and a follicle stalk and the remainder into a testis. When the cell mass receives no oocyte, it differentiate as a whole into a testis. In the egg follicle thus formed the outer and inner follicular cells increase in number by mitotic division. Subsequently, initial test cells are derived from the inner follicle by migration across the developing chorion; then they increas2 in number by mitosis. In the testis, meiosis and spermiogenesis take place.