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Germ Cell Specification in Mice

Science, 20 April 2007
Vol. 316, Issue 5823, p. 394-396
DOI: 10.1126/science.1137545

Germ Cell Specification in Mice

  1. Katsuhiko Hayashi,
  2. Susana M. Chuva de Sousa Lopes,
  3. M. Azim Surani*
  1. Wellcome Trust Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QN, UK.
  1. * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: as10021{at}


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.


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