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Keywords:

  • Bryopsidophyceae;
  • Chlorophyta;
  • Codium;
  • female gametes;
  • gametogenesis;
  • meiosis;
  • parthenogenesis;
  • ultrastructure

SUMMARY

Female gametogenesis was studied in the dioecious siphonous green alga Codium fragile subsp. novae-zelandiae (J. Agardh) P. C. Silva using light and electron microscopy. Early during gametogenesis the protoplasm was uniform; then it separated in portions, while fusiform chloroplasts and nuclei increased in numbers. Some features of the nuclear divisions were similar to those of other Bryopsidophyceae. They were acentric and semi-open. Pairs of parallel electron-dense lines resembling synaptonemic complexes were observed in several prophase nuclei indicating meioses. In metaphase the nuclear envelope showed polar fenestrae from which the spindle emerged. No spindle microtubule nucleating material was visible and chromosome kinetochores were evident. Mature female gametes were pyriform with a hyaline anterior end from which the two flagella emerged. Mature gametes had a spherical nucleus surrounded by a mitochondrion and numerous discoid chloroplasts. Female gametes germinated parthenogenetically in culture and also inside gametangia, involving loss of flagella, rounding and lengthening of cells, multiplication of chloroplasts with well developed thylakoid systems, vacuolization and synthesis of a fibrillar cell wall.