Germ cell sex determination: a collaboration between soma and germline

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2010 Dec;22(6):722-9. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Oct 26.


Sex determination is regulated very differently in the soma vs. the germline, yet both processes are critical for the creation of the male and female gametes. In general, the soma plays an essential role in regulating sexual identity of the germline. However, in some species, such as Drosophila and mouse, the sex chromosome constitution of the germ cells makes an autonomous contribution to germline sexual development. Here we review how the soma and germline cooperate to determine germline sexual identity for some important model systems, the fly, the worm and the mouse, and discuss some of the implications of 'dual control' (soma plus germline) as compared to species where germline sex is dictated only by the surrounding soma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Germ Cells / cytology
  • Germ Cells / physiology*
  • Male
  • Oocytes / physiology
  • Sex Determination Processes / physiology*
  • Spermatozoa / physiology