A sex cord‐like structure and some remarkable features in early gonadal sex differentiation in the marine teleost Siganus guttatus(Bloch)
Several notable features of early gonadal sex differentiation in the golden rabbitfish Siganus guttatus are described including the first report among teleosts of a distinctive dual structure, consisting of somatic cells directly enclosing germ cells (sex cord‐like structure, SCS) and outer somatic tissue surrounding the SCS, in both undifferentiated and early differentiated gonads. Germ cells occurred and proliferated exclusively in the SCS during the process of ovarian and testicular differentiation. A second remarkable characteristic was the delayed germinal cell proliferation for oogenesis in the ovary, that commenced simultaneously with that in the testis, a relatively long time after the onset of somatic development. These observations suggest the possibility that sex differentiation of germ cells is preceded by some sex specific changes in somatic components of the SCS that are light‐microscopically indistinguishable between the sexes. The third unique feature was the detachment of gonadal tissue, including both somatic and germ cells, into the ovarian cavity in the ovary and into the seminiferous lobules and main seminal duct in the testis. This phenomenon occurred in the testis, forming the efferent duct network after 73 days post‐hatch (DPH), and in the ovaries, forming the ovigerous lamellae and regulating the number of oocytes attaining full maturation at c. 129 DPH.
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