Determining the tempo of evolution across species

Scientists from Denmark and China have estimated germline mutation rates across vertebrates by sequencing and comparing genetic samples from 151 mother, father, and offspring trios from 68 species of mammals, fishes, birds ...

Male-biased protein expression discovered in fruit flies

Fruit flies (Drosophila) are important model organisms for biological research. Molecular tools exist that can turn on (or induce) gene expression in fruit flies, allowing researchers to learn more about the functions of ...

When two worlds meet: A protease that controls small RNA activity

The protection of genome integrity of germ cells is essential for animal fertility. Researchers from the Grosshans group characterized a defense mechanism against selfish genetic elements in the C. elegans germline. They ...

Viruses play critical role in evolution and survival of the species

As the world scrambles to control the growing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, new research in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology shows viruses also play a key evolutionary role in mammals' ability to reproduce and survive.

Origin of a complex life form revealed

Researchers from McGill University have revealed the steps by which two very distinct organisms—bacteria and carpenter ants—have come to depend on one another for survival to become a single complex life form. The study, ...

Eliminating damaged germline cells preserves germline integrity

The germline is the cell lineage of an organism that passes on its genetic material to its progeny. Genetic damage to the germline can cause developmental defects and even death of that same progeny. It is thought that biological ...

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In biology and genetics, the germline of a mature or developing individual is the line (sequence) of germ cells that have genetic material that may be passed to a child.

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.

Cells that are not in the germline are called somatic cells. This refers to all of the cells of body apart from the gametes. If there is a mutation or other genetic change in the germline, it can potentially be passed to offspring, but a change in a somatic cell will not be.

Germline cells are immortal, in the sense that they have the potential to reproduce indefinitely. This is largely due to the activity of the enzyme known as telomerase. This enzyme extends the telomeres of the chromosome, preventing chromosome fusions and other negative effects of shortened telomeres. Most somatic cells, by comparison, can only divide around 30-50 times according to the Hayflick limit. Certain somatic cells, known as stem cells, also express telomerase and are potentially immortal.

Not all multicellular organisms differentiate cells into somatic and germ lines. Notably, plants have no germline cells separate from stem cells[citation needed].

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 first eukaryote of about 2 billion years ago, from which all plants and animals descend.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA