In Drosophila, as in many other organisms, primordial germ cells show invasive and migratory behavior moving from their site of origin to the somatic component of the gonad. At a characteristic time in development, the primordial germ cells pass across the primordium of the gut and migrate on its outer surface toward the mesoderm, where they eventually associate with the somatic tissues of the gonad. Here we demonstrate that the exit and migration are specific behaviors of the primordial germ cells and that they are controlled by the somatic tissue of the embryo rather than by a germ cell autonomous clock. Using mutations, we show that these controlling somatic events probably occur in the tissue of the gut primordium itself.
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