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Title: Germline  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Gene knockout, SNV calling from NGS data, Genomic imprinting, Granule (cell biology), Germline mosaicism
Collection: Developmental Biology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Cormlets of Watsonia meriana, an example of apomixis
Clathria tuberosa, an example of a sponge that can grow indefinitely from somatic tissue and reconstitute itself from totipotent separated somatic cells

In reproduction they may pass on their genetic material to the progeny.[1]

As a rule this passing on happens via a process of sexual reproduction; typically it is a process that includes systematic changes to the genetic material, changes that arise during recombination, meiosis and fertilization or syngamy for example. However, there are many exceptions, including processes and concepts such as various forms of apomixis, autogamy, automixis, cloning, or parthenogenesis.[2][3] The cells of the germline commonly are called germ cells.[4]

For example, gametes such as the sperm or the egg are part of the germline. So are the cells that divide to produce the gametes, called gametocytes, the cells that produce those, called gametogonia, and all the way back to the zygote, the cell from which the individual developed.[4]

In sexually reproducing organisms, cells that are not in the germline are called Porifera[6] and many plants. For example, many varieties of citrus,[7] plants in the Rosaceae and some in the Asteraceae, such as Taraxacum produce seeds apomictically when somatic diploid cells displace the ovule or early embryo.[8]


  1. ^ Pieter Dirk Nieuwkoop; Lien A. Sutasurya (1979). Primordial Germ Cells in the Chordates: Embryogenesis and Phylogenesis. CUP Archive.  
  2. ^ Juan J. Tarin; Antonio Cano (14 September 2000). Fertilization in Protozoa and Metazoan Animals: Cellular and Molecular Aspects. Springer.  
  3. ^ Andrew Lowe; Stephen Harris; Paul Ashton (1 April 2009). Ecological Genetics: Design, Analysis, and Application. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 108–.  
  4. ^ a b Nikolas Zagris; Anne Marie Duprat; Antony Durston (30 November 1995). Organization of the Early Vertebrate Embryo. Springer. pp. 2–.  
  5. ^ C.Michael Hogan. 2010. . ed. E.Monosson and C.J.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DCMutation
  6. ^ a b Brusca, Richard C. & Brusca, Gary J. (1990). Invertebrates. Sunderland: Sinauer Associates.  
  7. ^ Akira Wakana and Shunpei Uemoto. Adventive Embryogenesis in Citrus (Rutaceae). II. Postfertilization Development. American Journal of Botany Vol. 75, No. 7 (Jul., 1988), pp. 1033-1047 Published by: Botanical Society of America Article Stable URL:
  8. ^ K V Ed Peter (5 February 2009). Basics Of Horticulture. New India Publishing. pp. 9–.  
  9. ^ a b c August Weismann (1892). Essays upon heredity and kindred biological problems. Clarendon press. 
  10. ^ Watt, F. M. and B. L. M. Hogan. 2000 Out of Eden: Stem Cells and Their Niches Science 287:1427-1430.
  11. ^ Romanes, George John. An examination of Weismannism. The Open court publishing company in Chicago 1893 [2]


See also

Germline can refer to a lineage of cells spanning many generations of individuals—for example, the germline that links any living individual to the hypothetical last universal ancestor, from which all plants and animals descend.

Not all multicellular organisms totipotent, and for over a century sponge cells have been known to reassemble into new sponges after having been separated by forcing them through a sieve.[6]

[9] However Weismann was under no illusions concerning the limitations of his ideas in the absence of hard data concerning the nature of the systems he was speculating on or studying, and he discussed the limitations frankly and analytically.[11]

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