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Why Do Primordial Germ Cells Migrate through an Embryo and What Does It Mean for Biological Evolution?

A. M. Olovnikov

Institute of Biochemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Chernyakhovskogo 5-94, 125319 Moscow, Russia; E-mail: olovnikov@gmail.com

Received December 14, 2012
An explanation of the role of primordial germ cell (PGC) migration during embryogenesis is proposed. According to the hypothesis, various PGCs during their migrations through an early embryo are contacting with anlagen of organs and acquiring nonidentical organ specificities. An individual PGC gets such an organ specificity, which corresponds to specificity of the first anlage with which this PGC has the first contact. As a result, the cellular descendants of PGCs (oocytes or spermatocytes) will express nonidentical organ-specific receptors, hence becoming functionally heterogeneous. Therefore, each clone of germ cells becomes capable of recognizing specifically the molecular signals that correspond only to “its” organ of the body. Such signals are produced by the body’s organ when it functions in an extreme mode. Signals from the “exercising” organ of the body are delivered to the gonad only via the brain retransmitter, which is composed of neurons grouped as virtual organs of a homunculus. Homunculi are so-called somatotopic maps of the skeletomotor and other parts of the body represented in the brain. Signals, as complexes of regulatory RNAs and proteins, are transported from the “exercising” organ of the body to the corresponding virtual organ of the homunculus where they are processed and then forwarded to the gonad. The organ-specific signal will be selectively recognized by certain gametocytes according to their organ specificity, and then it will initiate the directed epimutation in the gametocyte genome. The nonrandomness of the gene order in chromosomes, that is the synteny and genetic map, is controlled by the so-called creatron that consolidates the soma and germline into a united system, providing the possibility of evolutionary responses of an organism to environmental influences.
KEY WORDS: PGC migration, oocyte loss, synteny, crossover, epimutation, non-Darwinian evolution, biological regress, speciation

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297913100143