The morphogenesis of the outer segments of retinal rods was studied mainly in the kitten before the opening of the eye, and the probable sequence of the morphogenetic stages is deduced. Since the development of retinal rods is not synchronous, the deductions were based on observations of many single and serial sections.
One centriole extends ciliary tubules of about 0.5 µ long, in the growing primitive cilium. Beyond this length, each ciliary tubule becomes a row of small vesicles (called "ciliary vesicles" in this paper), which penetrate into the distal region of the cilium.
Where the ciliary vesicles establish contact with the plasma membrane of the distal region of the cilium, more or less deep infoldings of the plasma membrane are observed. In the distal region can be seen rows of tubular or vesicular structures. A few of these membranous structures are continuous with the bottoms of the infoldings.
At the following stage, the infoldings disappear and the ciliary vesicles lose contact with the distal plasma membrane. Nonetheless, the formation of the tubular structures continues in the distal region of the primitive outer segment.
The tubular structures appear to be transformed into the primitive rod sacs by sidewise enlargement. At a subsequent time, presumably, these primitive rod sacs flatten and are rearranged into a position perpendicular to the long axis of the outer segment.
The detailed structure of the basal body of the connecting cilium was also studied by means of serial sections.