Introduction to germ cell development in Caenorhabditis elegans

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013:757:1-16. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-4015-4_1.


A central feature of the continuum of life in sexually reproducing metazoans is the cycle of the germline from one generation to the next. This volume describes the cycle of the germline for Caenorhabditis elegans through chapters that are focused on distinct aspects or processes in germ cell development. Topics include sequential and dependent processes such as specification of germ cells as distinct from somatic cells, sex determination, stem cell proliferative fate versus meiotic development decision, recombination/progression through meiotic prophase, contemporaneous processes such as gametogenesis, meiotic development and apoptosis, and continuing the cycle into the next generation through fertilization and the oocyte-to-embryo transition. Throughout germ cell development, translational control and epigenetic mechanisms play prominent roles. These different aspects of germ cell development are seamlessly integrated under optimal conditions and are modified in the different reproductive strategies that are employed by C. elegans under harsh environmental conditions. In this chapter, we set the stage by providing a brief background on the C. elegans system and germ cell development, indicating processes in the cycle of the germline that are covered in each chapter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development
  • Germ Cells / cytology*