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Physiol Rev. 1986 Jan;66(1):71-117.

Differentiation of mammalian embryonic gonad.


Formation and differentiation of a gonad depend on finely controlled interactions between germ cells and various types of somatic cells. These interactions already begin when the germ cells start migrating toward the gonadal ridge. Reaching the presumptive gonadal area on the mesonephros, the germ cells join with the mesonephric-derived cells. These mesonephric cells are probably the precursors of the steroid-producing cells. A crucial event for gonadal function is the enclosure of germ cells and somatic cells in specific germ cell compartments. Survival and differentiation of the germ cells depend on this separation. Differentiation of the steroid-producing cells depends in turn on remaining outside the cell compartments. The mechanisms directing the gonad to develop into a testis or an ovary are still obscure, but specific gene products from the sex chromosomes probably play a basic role in gonadal sex differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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