Keeping Germ Cells Special

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Science  28 Mar 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6178, pp. 1398
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6178.1398-c

Germ cells separate from the somatic lineage during early metazoan development. Eun et al. (p. 1513) found that Drosophila germ cells lose their identity and turn on somatic cell–specific marker expression in adult testes when a Polycomb group component E(z) is inactivated in somatic cells. However, only early-stage germ cells, including germline stem cells, retain this plasticity. Thus, one role for somatic cells in male gonads is to antagonize somatic identity in germ cells.

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