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The aboral ring and the development of early gonads in the echinoid <i>Paracentrotus lividus</i> (Echinodermata, Echinoidea)

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The development of the genital apparatus is described for the echinoid Paracentrotus lividus. This apparatus derives from the aboral ring, an annular structure that includes an inconspicuous coelom and, in juveniles, the germinal rachis. The germinal epithelium grows out from the germinal rachis, and the gonadal wall and coelom in early (tubular) gonads share similarities with their equivalents in the aboral ring. The original germinal rachis regresses to form a genital cord one cell wide in late juveniles. A genital cord was observed in a few field-collected adult individuals (>40 mm test diameter).

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