Derivation and Differentiation of Human Embryonic Germ Cells

Michael J. Shamblott, Candace L. Kerr, Joyce Axelman, John W. Littlefield, Gregory O. Clark, Ethan S. Patterson, Russell C. Addis, Jennifer N. Kraszewski, Kathleen C. Kent, John D. Gearhart

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Human embryonic germ (EG) cells can be derived from primordial germ cells (PGCs) by using methods similar to those used to derive mouse EG cultures. Like mouse embryonic stem (ES) and EG cells, human EG cells require leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) for proliferation as undifferentiated stem cells. Unlike mouse EG cells, however, human EG cells retain dependence on exogenous cytokines and factors supplied by the feeder layer, and spontaneously differentiate into embryoid bodies (EBs) more frequently. Although EBs are not pluripotent, they express phenotypic markers found on progenitor, precursor, and mature cells. Cells retaining a capacity for cell proliferation and express makers of multiple lineages can be isolated from EBs, and can be used in a variety of in vitro and in vivo differentiation paradigms. Current challenges are to match individual EB-derived (EBD) cultures to desired endpoints, and to enrich or purify specific populations of cells within EBD cultures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEssentials of Stem Cell Biology
Subtitle of host publicationThird Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780124104273
ISBN (Print)9780124095038
StatePublished - 2014


  • C-kit ligand
  • Culture evaluation
  • Differentiation markers
  • Embryoid bodies
  • Expression profiling
  • Human embryonic germ cells
  • Primordial germ cells
  • STO feeder layer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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