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Anat Rec. 1976 Jun;185(2):139-45.

The origin, migration and morphology of the primordial germ cells in the chick embryo.


Chick primordial germ cells (PGCs) which separated from the "germinal crescent" entoderm in the period from stages 4 to 8 circulated mostly through the developing blood vessels from stage 10 onward and finally migrated into the gonad. The PGCs making their appearance up to this stage were generally spherical in profile, about 14 mum in diameter. Some of the PGCs in contrast, did not enter the blood vessels but remained in the tissue (mesenchyme) of the embryo proper (tissue PGCs) and possessed pseudopodial processes, suggesting their migration by means of amoeboid movements. The circulating PGCs emerged from blood vessels in the vicinity of developing gonads by three days (gonadal PGCs). The principal mechanism responsible for the subsequent migration of gonadal PGCs is assumed to be amoeboid movements as in the case of tissue PGCs. Notable amounts of PAS-positive glycogen were demonstrated in the cytoplasm of PGCs in all stages obsreved. They also contained yolk and lipids intracytoplasmically, the former dissipating in relatively early stages of development. Electron microscopic observation revealed the electron-opaque, "fragmented nucleolus" in the large nucleus (8 mum in diameter), which represented another prominent feature of chick PGCs. PGCs contained a well-developed Golgi complex and endoplasmic reticulum.

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