Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 55, Issue 8, pp 1141-1163

Germline development in vertebrates and invertebrates

  • E. E. SaffmanAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, McGill University, 1205 Dr. Penfield Ave., Montréal, Québec H3A 1B1 (Canada), Fax +1 514 398 8051, e-mail: paul_lasko@maclan.mcgill.ca
  • , P. LaskoAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, McGill University, 1205 Dr. Penfield Ave., Montréal, Québec H3A 1B1 (Canada), Fax +1 514 398 8051, e-mail: paul_lasko@maclan.mcgill.ca

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Abstract.

In all animals information is passed from parent to offspring via the germline, which segregates from the soma early in development and undergoes a complex developmental program to give rise to the adult gametes. Many aspects of germline development have been conserved throughout the animal kingdom. Here we review the unique properties of germ cells, the initial determination of germ cell fates, the maintenance of germ cell identity, the migration of germ cells to the somatic gonadal primordia and the proliferation of germ cells during development in vertebrates and invertebrates. Similarities in germline development in such diverse organisms as Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, Xenopus laevis and Mus musculus will be highlighted.

Key words. Germline; germ plasm; migration; totipotency; primordial germ cells.