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Fetal germ cell development in humans, a link with infertility

Journal Contribution - Review Article

Gametes are cells that have the unique ability to give rise to new individuals as well as transmit (epi)genetic information across generations. Generation of functionally competent gametes, oocytes and sperm cells, depends to some extent on several fundamental processes that occur during fetal development. Direct studies on human fetal germ cells remain hindered by ethical considerations and inaccessibility to human fetal material. Therefore, the majority of our current knowledge of germ cell development still comes from an invaluable body of research performed using different mammalian species. During the last decade, our understanding of human fetal germ cells has increased due to the successful use of human pluripotent stem cells to model aspects of human early gametogenesis and advancements on single-cell omics. Together, this has contributed to determine the cell types and associated molecular signatures in the developing human gonads. In this review, we will put in perspective the knowledge obtained from several mammalian models (mouse, monkey, pig). Moreover, we will discuss the main events during human fetal (female) early gametogenesis and how the dysregulation of this highly complex and lengthy process can link to infertility later in life.
ISSN: 1096-3634
Volume: 131
Pages: 58 - 65
Publication year:2022