Germ Cell Development
Our goal is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of germ cell differentiation and development, and to uncover the mechanisms by which they transmit both genetic and epigenetic information to successive generations. We are especially interested in understanding the epigenetic and metabolic changes that germ cells undergo during their differentiation. We are also interested in the relationship between germ cells and pluripotent stem cells. Germ cells generate whole organisms after fertilization, whereas pluripotent stem cells are capable of differentiating into all types of cells, but by themselves, they are incapable of differentiating into organisms. Because primordial germ cells can be easily reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells in culture this indicates that these cells are distinct, but closely related to each other. We are, therefore, interested in the molecular mechanisms that regulate the differences and commonalties between germ cells and pluripotent stem cells.