Spermiogenesis in chicken has been examined in order to see whether the radical changes observed in cell shape can be related to the presence of cytoplasmic microtubules. A highly ordered array of tubules has been found which surrounds the nucleus as it elongates from a sphere to a slender cylinder. The structure of the array has been determined by following the tubules through 12–14 adjacent serial sections, and it is a left-handed double helix. Faint cross-bridges connect consecutive turns of the two helices. After the change in nuclear shape is complete, the helical system of microtubules disappears and is replaced by a set of almost straight tubules which run parallel to the long axis of the nucleus. These tubules remain while the spermatid nucleus condenses isotropically to its final size. We suggest that the helix is the agent which effects nuclear elongation and that the subsequent system of paraxial tubules determines the curvature of the final sperm head. Evidence for these suggestions is found in the form of spermatids which have failed to develop properly. In an appendix we consider the kinematics of single and multiple helix systems and discuss the revelance of these models to the morphogenesis of chicken spermatids.

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