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Human Embryonic Germ Cells

Embryonic germ cells are derived from primordial germline cells in early fetal tissue during a narrow window of development. Unlike embryonic stem cells, animal experiments on embryonic germ cells have been limited. In November of 1998, the isolation, culture, and partial characterization of germ cells derived from the gonadal ridge of human tissue obtained from abortuses was reported.Shamblott, M.J., Axelman, J., Wang, S., Bugg, E.M., Littlefield, J.W., Donovan, P.J., Blumenthal, P.D., Huggins, G.R., and Gearhart, J.D. "Derivation of Pluripotent Stem Cells from Cultured Human... These experiments showed that these EG cells are capable of forming the three germ layers that make all the specific organs of the body. There are fewer data from animal EG cell experiments than from ES cell experiments, but it is generally assumed that the range of potential fates will be relatively limited compared to ES cells, because the EG cells are much further along in development (5-9 weeks as opposed to 5 days in the published experiments). Fetal tissue may provide committed neural progenitors, but the feasibility of large scale sourcing and manufacturing of products utilizing such cells is questionable. Furthermore, the behavior of these cells in vivo is not well understood; significant research will be required to avoid unwanted outcomes, including ectopic tissue formation (additional, unwanted tissue), tumor induction, or other abnormal development.There is at least one report of abnormal development when the nuclei of mouse germ cells are transplanted into mouse oocytes. Kato, Y., Rideout, W.M., Hilton, K., Barton, S.C., Tsunoda, Y., and Surani,...

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