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Trends Cell Biol. 1999 Jul;9(7):257-62.

Germline cysts: a conserved phase of germ cell development?

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Laboratories, Dept of Embryology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 115 W. University Pkwy, Baltimore, MD 21210, USA.


Germ cells in many vertebrate and invertebrate species initiate gametogenesis by forming groups of interconnected cells known as germline cysts. Recent studies using Xenopus, mouse and Drosophila are beginning to uncover the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control germline cyst formation and, in conjunction with morphological evidence, suggest that the process is highly conserved during evolution. This article discusses these recent findings and argues that cysts play an important and general role in germ line development.

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