http://www.ibioseminars.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=708&Itemid=702 When an egg is fertilized, two distinct groups of cells are formed; the somatic cells which give rise to all the structures in body and will ultimately die, and the primordial germ cells which become germ line stem cells that produce sperm and egg and thus, can give rise to another generation. Hence, germ cells are responsible for the maintenance of a species. In Part 1 of her lecture, Dr. Lehmann discusses the strategies used by an embryo to specify which cells will become somatic cells and which will become germ cells. She also outlines the currently known features of germ cells that differentiate them from other cells in the embryo.
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