Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 December 2019
After a blastocyst has implanted in the uterus and begins to differentiate into the three primary germ layers, a special population of cells develops as primordial germ cells (PGCs). These are destined to become the gametes of the new individual: future reproduction of the organism is absolutely dependent upon the correct development of these unique populations of cells. They originate immediately behind the primitive streak in the extraembryonic mesoderm of the yolk sac; toward the end of gastrulation they move into the embryo via the allantois, and temporarily settle in the mesoderm and endoderm of the primitive streak. In humans, PGCs can be identified at about 3 weeks of gestation, close to the yolk sac endoderm at the root of the allantois.