Int. J. Dev. Biol. 45: 519 - 522 (2001)
© UPV/EHU Press

Twenty years of research on primordial germ cells.

M De Felici

Department of Public Health and Cell Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy. defelici@uniroma2.it

ABSTRACT Just twenty years ago I was preparing a research project centred on establishing methods for the isolation and culture of mouse primordial germ cells (PGCs). The project had been suggested to me by Anne McLaren and was to be developed at the Medical Research Council (MRC) "Mammalian Development Unit" in London under the direction of Anne herself. At that time I was a young postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Histology and Embryology of the University of Rome "La Sapienza" and did not imagine that my decision to be involved in this project would signal a profound switch in my scientific life. From then on my research would mostly concentrate on primordial germ cell biology. I feel like saying that the modern history of mammalian primordial germ cells began twenty years ago at the MRC Mammalian Development Unit under Anne McLaren's impulse. It is not surprising that among the most active researchers in the last twenty years in studying mammalian primordial germ cells, three, namely Chris Wylie, Peter Donovan and myself, began their studies under Anne McLaren's guidance. Over the years, Anne's suggestions and encouragement were always precious for my studies and her presence marked my most important findings on PGC biology. She often invited me to present the results obtained in my laboratory to workshops and congresses. In the present article some of these results particularly influenced by Anne's teaching and suggestions will be briefly reviewed.