noun, plural: gemmules
In pangenesis, gemmules are imagined particles of inheritance conceptualized by Charles Darwin to explain heredity. Gemmules are thought to be shed from every part of the body, circulate freely in the bloodstream and move to the gonads where they accumulate in the germ cells. They are supposed to be transmitted from the parent to the offspring in the dormant state until atavism occurs. Gemmules are also called pangenes.
Word origin: French, from Latin gemmula, diminutive of gemma, bud.
See also: pangenesis.