Germ cells are the route by which the genome and cytoplasmic constituents are passed from one generation to the next in sexually reproducing multicellular organisms. Here, we describe their origin, development into functional gametes, sperm, or oocytes, through the processes of meiosis and gametogenesis, and discuss an epigenetic state that is erased and reset in germ cells, imprinting.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBrenner's Encyclopedia of Genetics
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9780080961569
ISBN (Print)9780123749840
StatePublished - Feb 27 2013


  • Fertilization
  • Gametogenesis
  • Germ cell
  • Germ plasm
  • Germline
  • Imprinting
  • Meiosis
  • Meiotic maturation
  • Oocyte
  • Oogenesis
  • Recombination
  • Sperm
  • Spermatogenesis


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