Centrioles are necessary for flagella and cilia formation, cytokinesis, cell-cycle control and centrosome organization/spindle assembly. They duplicate once per cell cycle, but the mechanisms underlying their duplication remain unclear. Here we show using electron tomography of staged C. elegans one-cell embryos that daughter centriole assembly begins with the formation and elongation of a central tube followed by the peripheral assembly of nine singlet microtubules. Tube formation and elongation is dependent on the SAS-5 and SAS-6 proteins, whereas the assembly of singlet microtubules onto the central tube depends on SAS-4. We further show that centriole assembly is triggered by an upstream signal mediated by SPD-2 and ZYG-1. These results define a structural pathway for the assembly of a daughter centriole and should have general relevance for future studies on centriole assembly in other organisms.