Meiosis onset is postponed to postnatal stages during ovotestis development in female moles


  • F. Zurita
  • F.D. Carmona
  • D.G. Lupianez
  • F.J. Barrionuevo
  • S. Guioli
  • M. Burgos
  • R. Jimenez


  • Sexual Development


  • Sex Dev 1 (1): 66-76


  • In mammals, germ cells are important both during development and for the function of female gonads, whereas male gonads may develop in the absence of germ cells. The gonads of female moles (genus Talpa) develop according to a testis-like pattern which results in the formation of ovotestes. In this paper, we studied the expression pattern of several pre-meiotic and meiotic germ cell markers, in order to establish the precise time of meiosis onset in the mole species T. occidentalis, and to investigate the location and possible role of germ cells in ovotestis organogenesis. Our results evidenced that: (1) the asymmetrical distribution of primordial germ cells, which concentrate in the cortex of the XX gonad, is brought about by germ cell depletion from the medulla between the s5a and s5b stages, (2) XX germ cells enter meiosis postnatally, which is quite exceptional among eutherian mammals, and (3) XX but not XY germ cells of moles express DMRT1 during premeiotic stages of development, an expression pattern not described previously in vertebrates.