This paper describes the replication of centrioles during spermatogenesis in the Prosobranch snail, Viviparus malleatus Reeve. Sections for electron microscopy were cut from pieces of testis fixed in OsO4 and embedded in the polyester resin Vestopal W. Two kinds of spermatocytes are present. These give rise to typical uniflagellate sperm carrying the haploid number of 9 chromosomes, and atypical multiflagellate sperm with only one chromosome. Two centrioles are present in the youngest typical spermatocyte. Each is a hollow cylinder about 160 mµ in diameter and 330 mµ long. The wall consists of 9 sets of triplet fibers arranged in a characteristic pattern. Sometime before pachytene an immature centriole, or procentriole as it will be called, appears next to each of the mature centrioles. The procentriole resembles a mature centriole in most respects except length: it is more annular than tubular. The daughter procentriole lies with its axis perpendicular to that of its parent. It presumably grows to full size during the late prophase, although the maturation stages have not been observed with the electron microscope. It is suggested that centrioles possess a constant polarization. The distal end forms the flagellum or other centriole products, while the proximal end represents the procentriole and is concerned with replication. The four centrioles of prophase (two parents and two daughters) are distributed by the two meiotic divisions to the four typical spermatids, in which they function as the basal bodies of the flagella. Atypical spermatocytes at first contain two normal centrioles. Each of these becomes surrounded by a cluster of procentrioles, which progressively elongate during the late prophase. After two aberrant meiotic divisions the centriole clusters give rise to the basal bodies of the multiflagellate sperm. These facts are discussed in the light of the theory, first proposed by Pollister, that the supernumerary centrioles in the atypical cells are derived from the centromeres of degenerating chromosomes.

This content is only available as a PDF.