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1. A small gemma or similar structure, especially a reproductive structure in certain sponges that remains dormant for some time and later develops into a new individual.
2. A hypothetical particle in the theory of pangenesis, postulated to be produced by cells and to be responsible for transmitting traits from parent to offspring.

[French, from Latin gemmula, diminutive of gemma, bud; see gembh- in Indo-European roots.]

gem′mu·lif′er·ous (jĕm′yo͞o-lĭf′ər-əs) adj.


1. (Zoology) zoology a cell or mass of cells produced asexually by sponges and developing into a new individual; bud
2. (Botany) botany a small gemma
3. (Biology) a small hereditary particle postulated by Darwin in his theory of pangenesis
[C19: from French, from Latin gemmula a little bud; see gem]


(ˈdʒɛm yul)

1. a small gemma.
2. any asexually produced clusterof cells capable of developing into a new individual.
[1835–45; < French < Latin gemmula. See gemma, -ule]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.gemmule - the physically discrete element that Darwin proposed as responsible for heredity
hypothesis, theory, possibility - a tentative insight into the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena; "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices"