Reproductive biology

Researchers at Whitehead Institute study the many aspects of germ cells that set them apart from other cell types. They ask questions about how germ cells migrate across the embryo to meet developing gonads, and how germ cells ultimately give rise to eggs and sperm. 

A new paper from the lab of Whitehead Institute Director Ruth Lehmann reveals how primordial germ cells in flies migrate from one end of an embryo to the other during development. The work could have implications for how scientists study germ cells in vivo, as well as other motile cells such as cancer cells.

Researchers in Whitehead Institute Director Ruth Lehmann’s lab have discovered that swarm cells, a previously enigmatic cell type, help primordial germ cells time their transformation during development so that the ovary can successfully assemble for egg production.