Germ cells are unique in their ability to transfer traits and genetic information from one generation to the next. The proper development and integrity of their genome are therefore of utmost importance for the health of organisms and survival of species. Many features of mammalian germ cells, including their long development span and difficulty of access, present challenges for their study in the context of toxicity assays. In light of these barriers, the model system Caenorhabditis elegans shows great potential given its ease of manipulation and genetic tractability which can be easily adapted for high-throughput analysis. In this chapter, we discuss the advantages of examining germ cell processes in C. elegans, and describe three functional germline assays for the examination of chemical impact on germline maintenance and function including assays probing germ cell differentiation, germline apoptosis, and germline epigenetic regulation.
C. elegansGermline Meiosis Toxicity Apoptosis
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