PH specimen

Germ cells in many animals undertake long and complex migration routes through the forming embryo in order to finally reach the somatic component of the gonads. Successful completion of this route is pivotal for reproduction and hence survival of the species. Germ cell migration is a classical topic of developmental biology and has been subject to intense investigation in model organisms like fruit flies and mice. Serving as a paradigm for cell migration, it is relevant for many kinds of processes including organ development, immune system function, wound healing or carcinogenesis, which also directly employ several of the genes known to function in germ cell migration. Among our laboratory model organisms, Parhyale (crustacean) and Oncopeltus (milkweed bug) germ cells undergo extensive migration, but in the cricket Gryllus germ cells migrate only a few cell diameters in order to occupy the primordial gonad. We are developing live imaging tools that will allow us to study the cellular behaviors and genetic mechanisms involved in germ cell migration in these emerging model organisms.