Origin of the germ cell line

  • Edward. M. Eddy
Part of the Electron Microscopy in Biology and Medicine book series (EMBM, volume 2)


The definitive germ cell line usually is considered to begin with the appearance of primordial germ cells (PGCs). As we shall see, for a few selected examples, PGCs are identified first in the posterior blastoderm in certain insect embryos, in the floor of the blastocoel in anuran frogs, in the anterior extraembryonic endoderm in chicks and in the endoderm of the yolk sac in mammals. It is tempting to make the generalization from these findings that the germ cell line of diverse animals arises within the endoderm or its equivalent prior to organogenesis. However, PGCs usually are identified on the basis of morphological features. This criterion alone may be insufficient for defining the beginning of the germ cell line. Cells which do not particularly look like PGCs but which have the developmental potential of PGCs, or express gene products specific to PGCs, might be present at earlier times and at other sites during embryogenesis. If this were shown to be the case, one might argue that by these criteria such cells should be called PGCs.


Germ Cell Mouse Embryo Primordial Germ Cell Germ Plasm Primitive Streak 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Boston, The Hague, Dordrecht, Lancaster 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward. M. Eddy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological StructureUniversity of Washington School of MedicineSeattleUSA

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