The work described in this paper is concerned with the role of cell multiplication and cell movement in relation to the initiation of buds in hydra.
Hydra starved for 6 days do not initiate new buds; in such animals the mean mitotic index is only 10% of that in well-fed animals. When starved animals are re-fed, there is a rapid rise in mitotic index which reaches a maximum 12 h after feeding and thereafter declines. This cell division causes an increase in the cell population of about 30% in the 24 h following the meal. New buds are initiated at 24–72 h, i.e. at some time after the major part of the cell multiplication.
Cell division occurs in all parts of the axis to more or less the same extent and there is no sign of a growth zone in the budding region. However, the cell population in the budding zone of re-fed animals shows a significantly greater increase than in other parts of the axis and this can only be accounted for if it is assumed that cells have moved into this region from other parts of the axis.
Some cell multiplication is a necessary prerequisite for bud initiation, but grafting experiments with starved animals suggest that division per se is not necessary; the important factor seems to be the increase in size resulting from division.
The mechanics and causes of the cell movement which results in bud initiation are briefly discussed. It is suggested that changes in intercellular adhesion may be important.