Interphase, preprophase, and prophase nuclei of meristematic cells of Allium cepa, Vicia faba, and Raphanus sativus are characterized by the presence of spherical bodies approximately 1 µ in diameter. These structures are Feulgen-negative but stain metachromatically with azure B, as the nucleolus, following fixation with glutaraldehyde. At the ultrastructural level, they consist predominantly of fibrils estimated to be between 70 and 100 A in diameter which greatly resemble those found within certain zones of the nucleolus in these plant species. Moreover, in Allium cepa, these spherules often exhibit dense particles which are also found within the fibrillar zones of the nucleolus in this species. The observations that the bodies in question are frequently located at the surface of the nucleolus and moreover show cytochemical and ultrastructural similarities with this organelle suggest that they may originate from the nucleolus. However, the common association of the spherules with chromosome strands may indicate instead that these bodies represent extranucleolar ribonucleoprotein materials synthesized by specific chromosomal loci.

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