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Science 316 (5823): 392-393

Copyright © 2007 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Germ Versus Soma Decisions: Lessons from Flies and Worms

Susan Strome1*, and Ruth Lehmann2*

Abstract: The early embryo is formed by the fusion of two germ cells that must generate not only all of the nonreproductive somatic cell types of its body but also the germ cells for the next generation. Therefore, embryo cells face a crucial decision: whether to develop as germ or soma. How is this fundamental decision made and germ cell fate maintained during development? Studies in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans and fruit fly Drosophila identify some of the decision-making strategies, including segregation of a specialized germ plasm and global transcriptional regulation.

1 Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.
2 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Skirball Institute, Department of Cell Biology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: sstrome{at}indiana.edu; lehmann{at}saturn.med.nyu.edu


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