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Science 316 (5823): 394-396

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

Germ Cell Specification in Mice

Katsuhiko Hayashi, Susana M. Chuva de Sousa Lopes, M. Azim Surani*

Abstract: Specification of germ cells in mice occurs relatively late in embryonic development. It is initiated by signals that induce expression of Blimp1, a key regulator of the germ cell, in a few epiblast cells of early postimplantation embryos. Blimp1 represses the incipient somatic program in these cells and promotes progression toward the germ cell fate. Blimp1 may also have a role in the maintenance of early germ cell characteristics by ensuring their escape from the somatic fate as well as possible reversion to pluripotent stem cells.

Wellcome Trust Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QN, UK.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: as10021{at}

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Science 316, 392-393
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