This project is aimed at improving the reproductive health, and at implementing efficient population control in our country. Research on germline cell development is central to achieve these goals. There are several cutting-edge issues in this research field, such as PGC (primordial germ cells) migration and the cell-fate determination of germline stem cell. To fulfill both the national interests and our scientific curiosities, we focuse on dissecting the molecular mechanism of the germline development. Based on the developmental process of the germ cells from embryonic stage to the adulthood, we will address questions in the following 4 areas (carried out by different teams):
1. primordial germ cell migration (GAO, Fei)
2. cell-fate determination of germline stem cell (CHEN, Dahua)
3. proliferation control of spermatogonial cells (WANG, Zhaohui)
4. differentiation of spermatogenic cells (QI, Huayu)
Our approach is to study germline development in 2 ‘complementary’ model animals, Drosophila and mouse. Drosophila provides the indispensable genetic resources that allow us to do large scale screening and in vivo dissection of how gene networks exert their functions， whereas mouse serves as the mammalian disease model. Because many vital biological processes including gametogenesis are highly conserved, the knowledge we obtain in these animal systems can facilitate our understanding of the human diseases associated with germline development. The critical genes we discover in gametogenesis may provide clues for drug targets discovery and/or therapeutic solutions.