The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 46: 301 - 308 (2002)

Vol 46, Issue 3

A shoot meristem-like organ in animals; monopodial and sympodial growth in Hydrozoa

Published: 1 May 2002

Stefan Berking, Marco Hesse and Klaus Herrmann

Zoological Institute, University of Köln, Germany.


Thecate Hydrozoa produce stems from which polyps branch off. Similar to plants these stems form in two ways, either in a sympodial or in a monopodial type of growth. In the latter group a terminal organ develops which has similarities to a shoot apical meristem of higher plants: it elongates without a further differentiation. Similar to leaf formation in plants, thecate Hydrozoa produce polyps in a repetitive manner. This process continues during the whole life of the animal and has not yet been found to be limited by internal mechanisms. We studied the monopodially growing thecate Hydrozoon Dynamena pumila and suggest that the stem tip, the apical shoot meristem-like organ, is a polyp primordium hindered to develop into a polyp by the laterally developing polyps.

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