I'm currently reading some introductory chapters about genetics (in Campbell's book, chapter 13) and I realized that I don't really understand what is the difference between the germ line and the germ cells.

From what I read so far, I understand that germ cells are specialized cells from which gametes are produced, and I suppose that the germ line is the "set" of all germ cells + gametes, but for some reason I couldn't find a good definition of what the germ line is and I was not satisfied with what I found in books and on the internet (because it was not as clear as I thought it could be)...

So, even if I'm ashamed to ask... Could someone explain to me the difference between those two concepts? Thanks in advance!


Germ cells are the cells of germline. Germline is a lineage of germ cells from germline stem cells to gametes. Cells that do not belong to germline are called somatic cells.

  • $\begingroup$ ...and somatic cells form the soma (which should maybe be called somatic line instead for clarity). +1 $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Dec 12 '17 at 1:25

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