Germ cell development in Drosophila

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 1996;12:365-91. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.12.1.365.


More than 100 years have passed since Weismann first recognized the role of germ cells in the continuity of a species. Today, it remains unclear how a germ cell is initially set aside from somatic cells and how it chooses its unique developmental path. In this review, we address various aspects of germ cell development in Drosophila, such as germ cell determination, germ cell migration, gonad formation, sex determination, and gametogenesis. Many aspects of germ cell development, including the morphology of germ cells, their migratory behavior, as well as the processes of gonad formation and gametogenesis, show striking similarities among organisms. Considering the conservation of factors that regulate somatic development, it is likely that some aspects of germ cell development are shared not only on a morphological but also on the molecular level between Drosophila and other organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement
  • Drosophila / cytology
  • Drosophila / embryology*
  • Female
  • Germ Cells / cytology*
  • Male
  • Oogenesis*
  • Spermatogenesis*