Perspectives of germ cell development in vitro in mammals

Katsuhiko Hayashi, Mitinori Saitou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Pluripotent stem cells, such as embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are able to differentiate into all cell lineages of the embryo proper, including germ cells. This pluripotent property has a huge impact on the fields of regenerative medicine, developmental biology and reproductive engineering. Establishing the germ cell lineage from ESCs/iPSCs is the key biological subject, since it would contribute not only to dissection of the biological processes of germ cell development but also to production of unlimited numbers of functional gametes in vitro. Toward this goal, we recently established a culture system that induces functional mouse primordial germ cells (PGCs), precursors of all germ cells, from mouse ESCs/iPSCs. The successful in vitro production of PGCs arose from the study of pluripotent cell state, the signals inducing PGCs and the technology of transplantation. However, there are many obstacles to be overcome for the robust generation of mature gametes or for application of the culture system to other species, including humans and livestock. In this review, we discuss the requirements for a culture system to generate the germ cell lineage from ESCs/iPSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-626
Number of pages10
JournalAnimal Science Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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