Editors' ChoiceGerm Cell Development

Primate germ cell origin

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Science  28 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6311, pp. 430-431
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6311.430-f

For species survival, reliable and efficient gamete production is crucial. In mammals, gametes arise from primordial germ cells (PGCs) that make their way to the developing gonads. Much is known about murine germ cell specification in the embryonic epiblast, but the mechanism in primates is less clear. Murine and primate embryos display different anatomical structures during development, so PGC origin may also vary. By examining cynomolgus monkeys (or crab-eating macaques, Macaca fascicularis), Sasaki et al. found that cynomolgus PGCs originate in the dorsal amnion, which itself provides signals to specify these cells. PGCs then migrate to the posterior yolk sac and eventually to the gonad. Preliminary analyses suggest that human germ cells may have a similar amniotic origin.

Dev. Cell. 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.09.007 (2016).

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