Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/14

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rôle also in bacteriology; but it can also be caused in special cases by mechanical means, such as agitation or piercing of the cortical layer. It may be mentioned parenthetically that foreign blood sera have also a cytolytic effect, and I succeeded in causing membrane formation and in consequence the development of the sea-urchin egg by treating it with the blood of various animals, e. g., of cattle, or the rabbit.

Recently Shearer has succeeded in Plymouth in causing a number of parthenogenetic plutei produced by my method to develop beyond the stage of metamorphosis, and Delage has reported that he raised two larvæ of the sea-urchin produced by artificial parthenogenesis to the stage of sexual maturity. We may, therefore, state that the complete imitation of the developmental effect of the spermatozoon by certain physico-chemical agencies has been accomplished.

I succeeded in showing that the spermatozoon causes the development of the sea-urchin egg in a way similar to that in my method of artificial parthenogenesis; namely, by carrying two substances into the egg, one of which acts like the butyric acid and induces the membrane formation, while the other acts like the treatment with a hypertonic solution and enables the full development of the larvæ. In order to prove this for the sea-urchin egg foreign sperm, e. g., that of the starfish, must be used. The sperm of the sea-urchin penetrates so rapidly into the sea-urchin egg that almost always both substances get into the egg. If, however, star-fish sperm is used for the fertilization of the sea-urchin egg, in a large number of cases, membrane formation occurs before the spermatozoon has found time to entirely penetrate into the egg. In consequence of the membrane formation the spermatozoon is thrown out. Such eggs behave as if only the membrane formation had been caused by some artificial agency, e. g., butyric acid. They begin to develop, but soon show signs of disintegration. If treated with a hypertonic solution they develop into larvæ. In touching the egg contents the spermatozoon had a chance to give off a substance which liquefied the cortical layer and thereby caused the membrane formation by which the further entrance of the spermatozoon into the egg was prevented. If, however, the starfish sperm enters completely into the egg before the membrane formation begins, the spermatozoon carries also the second substance into the egg, the action of which corresponds to the treatment of the egg with the hypertonic solution. In this case the egg can undergo complete development into a larva.

F. Lillie has recently confirmed the same fact in the egg of a worm, Nereis. He mixed the sperm and eggs of Nereis and centrifuged the mass. In many cases the spermatozoa which had begun to penetrate into the egg were thrown off again. The consequence was that only a membrane formation resulted without the spermatozoon penetrating