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Embryonic germ cells are the cells in the embryo that give rise to the reproductive cells – gametes – of sexually reproducing organisms. In animals, male gametes are sperm cells and female gametes are egg cells, also known as ova.
In vitro production of human oocytes for the treatment of female infertility is a goal in reproductive medicine. Here, the authors establish in vitro conditions to generate human ovarian follicle-like cells from human embryonic stem cells.
Liu et al. show that G1 cyclins and their cyclin-dependent kinases regulate the pluripotent state by driving phosphorylation of Nanog, Oct4 and Sox2, thereby identifying a direct connection between G1 cyclins and pluripotency factors.
Three papers in this issue of Nature use highly sensitive ChIP–seq assays to describe the dynamic patterns of histone modifications during early mouse embryogenesis, showing that oocytes have a distinctive epigenome and providing insights into how the maternal gene expression program transitions to the zygotic program.