NHGRI logo
Germ-line_hero

​Germ Line

updated: July 4, 2022

Definition

Germ line refers to the sex cells (eggs and sperm) that sexually reproducing organisms use to pass on their genomes from one generation to the next (parents to offspring). Egg and sperm cells are called germ cells, in contrast to the other cells of the body, which are called somatic cells.

 Germ Line


Narration

Germ line. Some organisms reproduce sexually and need special sex cells named germ cells to pass their genomes from parents to offspring. Germ cells are known as egg cells in females and sperm cells in males. And together, they make up the germ lines of the organism. Germ lines are the link between generations.

Belen Hurle, Ph.D.
Belen Hurle, Ph.D.

Educational Outreach Specialist

Education and Community Involvement Branch