Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology

Spermatogonia: origin, physiology and prospects for conservation and manipulation of the male germ line

Jens Ehmcke A , Karin Hübner B , Hans R. Schöler B and Stefan Schlatt A C

A University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, Center for Research in Reproductive Biology, W952 Biomedical Science Tower, 3500 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.

B Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Mendelstrasse 7, D-48149 Münster, Germany.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 18(2) 7-12
Submitted: 21 September 2005  Accepted: 21 September 2005   Published: 14 December 2005


In recent years, the scientific community has become increasingly interested in spermatogonia. Methodological breakthroughs, such as germ cell transplantation and spermatogonial culture combined with novel germ line transfection strategies, have provided interesting new opportunities for studying the physiology of spermatogonial stem cells and their interaction with the stem cell niche. Furthermore, intense research into pluripotent and adult stem cells has generated new insight into the differentiation pathway of germ line stem cells and has opened new perspectives for stem cell technologies. The present review briefly introduces the physiology of spermatogonial stem cells and discusses future directions of basic research and practical approaches applicable to livestock maintenance and animal reproduction.


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