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Coffman, C.R. (2003). Cell migration and programmed cell death of Drosophila germ cells.  Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 995(): 117--126.
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Cell migration and programmed cell death are essential components of animal development and homeostasis, and the germ cells of Drosophila provide a simple genetic system to study the molecular mechanisms that govern these important cellular processes. Detailed descriptions of germ cell migration in Drosophila were accomplished long ago, but most genetic and molecular analyses of the process have occurred within the past 10 years. A few of the genes required for germ cell migration have been identified, and a very interesting picture is emerging. However, a process as complex as cell migration must involve the functions of many more molecules. In addition, cell migration and cell death mechanisms are often linked, as it is important to eliminate cells that are misplaced and could present a danger to the organism. In Drosophila, genes involved in germ cell migration can also affect programmed cell death. Currently, very little is known about how germ cells ectopic to the gonads are eliminated. To date, only four genes have been reported with roles in germ cell death, and three of these have additional functions in germ cell pathfinding. The nature of the cell death program has not been elucidated. Here, I provide a brief review of Drosophila germ cell migration and programmed cell death at both the descriptive and molecular levels. Many questions remain to be answered, but advances made in recent years are providing useful insights into these critical biological phenomena.

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    Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
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