Germ cell development is a series of highly specialized processes through which diploid pluripotent cells differentiate into haploid gametes. The processes include biologically important events such as epigenetic reprogramming, sex determination, and meiosis. The mechanisms underlying these events are key issues in reproductive and developmental biology, yet they still remain elusive. As a tool to elucidate these mechanisms, in vitro gametogenesis, which reproduces germ cell development in culture, has long been sought for decades. Recently, methods of in vitro gametogenesis have undergone rapid development in association with stem cell biology, opening many possibilities in this field. This new technology is considered an alternative source of gametes for the reproduction of animals and perhaps humans. This review summarizes current advances and problems in in vitro gametogenesis.
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