One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tough-coated dormant cluster of embryonic cells produced by a freshwater sponge for development in more favourable conditions.
- ‘Dendrites branch repeatedly, and their surfaces are studded with spines or gemmules, thus expanding the receptive cell surface.’
- ‘Methods of asexual reproduction include both budding and the formation of gemmules.’
- ‘Some species also form internal buds, called gemmules, which can survive extremely unfavorable conditions that cause the rest of the sponge to die.’
- ‘These gemmules circulate throughout the body, and each sex cell eventually accumulates a full set.’
- ‘Development consisted of the orderly assembly and expression of the gemmules transmitted via the parental germ cells to the progeny.’
Mid 19th century: from French, from Latin gemmula, diminutive of gemma ‘bud, jewel’.
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