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CSH Protoc. 2008 Sep 1;2008:pdb.prot5048. doi: 10.1101/pdb.prot5048.

Human germ cell lineage differentiation from embryonic stem cells.

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Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education, Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA 94304-5542, USA.


INTRODUCTIONBiological and ethical constraints hinder studies of human germ cell development despite its importance to reproductive health, including fertility and tumorigenesis. Thus, most of what we know of human germ cell development has been extrapolated from studies in model organisms. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) may provide an ideal system for probing the developmental genetics of germ cell formation and differentiation in vitro. The growth factors BMP (bone morphogenetic protein) 4, BMP7, and BMP8b are required for development of primordial germ cells (PGCs) in mice. It has been shown that these BMPs significantly increase germ cell differentiation from hESCs in vitro. This protocol describes a method to induce germ cell differentiation from hESCs by the addition of BMPs to hESC differentiation medium. The protocol can be used to study the basic mechanism of germ cell development in human cells.


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