Botryllus schlosseri: a model ascidian for the study of asexual reproduction

Dev Dyn. 2007 Feb;236(2):335-52. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21037.


Botryllus schlosseri, a cosmopolitan colonial ascidian reared in the laboratory for more than 50 years, reproduces both sexually and asexually and is used as a model organism for studying a variety of biological problems. Colonies are formed of numerous, genetically identical individuals (zooids) and undergo cyclical generation changes in which the adult zooids die and are replaced by their maturing buds. Because the progression of the colonial life cycle is intimately correlated with blastogenesis, a shared staging method of bud development is required to compare data coming from different laboratories. With the present review, we aim (1) to introduce B. schlosseri as a valuable chordate model to study various biological problems and, especially, sexual and asexual development; (2) to offer a detailed description of bud development up to adulthood and the attainment of sexual maturity; (3) to re-examine Sabbadin's (1955) staging method and re-propose it as a simple tool for in vivo recognition of the main morphogenetic events and recurrent changes in the blastogenetic cycle, as it refers to the developmental stages of buds and adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryonic Development / physiology*
  • Life Cycle Stages / physiology*
  • Models, Animal*
  • Morphogenesis / physiology*
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Reproduction, Asexual / physiology*
  • Sexual Maturation
  • Urochordata / physiology*