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J Biochem. 2005 Jun;137(6):665-9.

Reproductive/urogenital organ development and molecular genetic cascades: glamorous developmental processes of bodies.

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Center for Animal Resources and Development (CARD), Graduate School of Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kumamoto University, Honjo 2-2-1, Kumamoto 860-0811, Japan.


At the beginning of the 21st century, developmental biologists together with medical researchers in a wide range of fields are witnessing rapid progress in molecular developmental biology. For example, conditional gene knockout systems are being designed to tackle questions about organogenesis and body plan formation in experimental mouse models and experimental designs include several compound mutant analyses and genome modification strategies. On the other hand, several fields remain relatively unexplored. Molecular mechanisms of sex differentiation are one of the unexplored huge area. Unanswered questions include the molecular genetic cascade of gonad formation, reproductive organ formation, uterus, external genitalia and mammary gland formation, and also the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction, and gene regulation by nuclear hormone receptors. This special thematic review series entitled, "Reproductive/urogenital organ development and molecular genetic cascades: glamorous developmental processes of bodies," covers such a wide range of topics. For this special issue, I have asked active researchers to contribute reviews of these topics which I believe will be useful not only for molecular developmental biologists, but also for researchers in biochemistry and cell biology. It will be my great pleasure if this special thematic issue encourages scientists to study this exciting research field.

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