, Volume 271, Issue 2, pp 263-270

Ultrastructural study of embryonic and early adult germ cells, and their support cells, in both sexes of Xiphophorus (Teleostei:Poeciliidae)

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Abstract

The ultrastructure of the early spermatogonia in mature testes of the platyfish, Xiphophorus maculatus, was compared to that of oogonia in mature ovaries of X. maculatus and the related X. nigrensis. Both cell types were very similar and, characterized as being large, oval to round cells containing large, central nuclei with prominent nucleoli. Abundant mitochondria with sparse transverse cristae were located at one pole or around the nucleus. Annulate lamellae and electron-dense granular material (nuage) were present. Other organelles were not prominent. A female that had received a testis graft had testicular tissue containing mature spermatozoa within the ovary, indicating that cells were present that could develop along the male line. Special crosses were carried out to obtain all-male embryos of X. maculatus and all-female embryos of X. nigrensis. The ultrastructure of the germ cells in all embryonic gonads was similar to that of the adult cells. These results suggest the presence of sexually undifferentiated germ cells in the adult gonads of both sexes. The support cells investing all of these germ cells were also similar structurally and appeared to be undifferentiated.