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The germ line represents a continuous cellular link between generations and between species, but the germ cells themselves develop in a specialized, organism-specific context. The model organisms Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster and the mouse display striking similarities, as well as major differences, in the means by which they control germ cell development. Recent developments in genetic technologies allow a more detailed comparison of the germ cells of these three organisms than has previously been possible, shedding light not only on universal aspects of germline regulation, but also on the control of the pluripotent state in vivo and on the earliest steps of embryogenesis. Here, we highlight themes from the comparison of these three alternative strategies for navigating the fundamental cycle of sexual reproduction.


Bluma J Lesch, David C Page. Genetics of germ cell development. Nature reviews. Genetics. 2012 Nov;13(11):781-94

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PMID: 23044825

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