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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
These bodies have no relation whatever with the production of the eggs or gemmules, as they are formed before th young polypi appear in the cells at the end of the growin branches; as they move independently of the polypi, and d not appear to be in any way connected with them; and a they differ in size on the outer and inner rows of cells, I hav little doubt, that in their functions, they are related rathe to the horny axis of the branches than to the polypi in th cells.
Sponges were viewed using a 10 X head-band magnifier for the presence of gemmules. If gemmules were found a section of the sponge was collected.
(10) Darwin's idea, postulated in The Variation of Plants and Animals under Domestication (1868), was that heredity was passed on through a process he called pangenesis, a complicated system where, in the words of George John Romanes, "every cell in the body casts off 'gemmules,' which are the carriers of heredity from their respective tissues to the germinal elements" (1893a, 512).
5 and 6), suggested that Cliona colonization via waterborne dispersal of larvae and/or asexual fragments (i.e., gemmules) occurred during summer 2012.
White and green sponges were observed in both rivers and contained numerous basal gemmules near attachment with substrate.
Pangenesis posits that each and every part of an organism produces "gemmules" during every stage of the organism's development from embryo to adult.
Pangenesis posits that each body part and organ produces microscopic particles, called "gemmules" by Darwin.
Final determination of genus depends upon microscopic visualization of megascleres, microscleres, gemmules, and gemmoscleres.
Absolute space, absolute time, phlogiston, and gemmules were at one time deemed essential; more recendy, dark matter and dark energy have been added.The cosmological constant (A) has come, gone, and come back.
(5) Darwin even proposed a Lamarkian form of inheritance called gemmules which gave a kind of environmental feed back into the genome of organisms (Darwin, C.
Skeleton composing three areas of differing reticular condensation: very closed but cavernous reticulum full of gemmules at the base, close and continuos reticulum in the middle, and an open reticulum with thick fibers towards the surface; original main fibers can be however perceived extending from the base up to the conulose projections.