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Development of testes and differentiation of germ cells in water frogs of the Rana esculenta - complex (Amphibia, Anura)

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

The European water frog, Rana esculenta, is a hybrid whose genome is composed of haploid chromosome sets of its parental species R. lessonae and R. ridibunda. Prior to meiosis one of the parental sets is discarded and the other is duplicated (hybridogenesis). In the parental species sex differentiation begins at tadpole stages 28-30 (Gosner, 1960), at stages 30-36 the testes are composed of proliferating pale spermatogonia 1°. At stages 36-39 a new class of spermatogonia I° (dark) appears. Before first hibernation, seminiferous lobules are filled with cysts containing germ cells at various stages of spermatogenesis up to elongating spermatids. In R. esculenta gonad development is affected from the earliest stages: the gonads are smaller and composed of reduced number of spermatogonia I°. The phase of pale spermatogonia I° proliferation is prolonged up to the second year of life. The structure of the gonads, as well as that of germ cells themselves, are often abnormal.

Affiliations: 1: Department of General Zoology and Department of Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates, Zoological Institute, Wroclaw University, ul. Sienkiewicza 21, 50-335 Wroclaw, Poland


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