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Keywords:

  • L1 diapause;
  • renewal;
  • dauer;
  • Notch;
  • insulin

Abstract

Caenorhabditis elegans boasts a short lifecycle and high fecundity, two features that make it an attractive and powerful genetic model organism. Several recent studies indicate that germline proliferation, a prerequisite to optimal fecundity, is tightly controlled over the course of development. Cell proliferation control includes regulation of competence to proliferate, a poorly understood aspect of cell fate specification, as well as cell-cycle control. Furthermore, dynamic regulation of cell proliferation occurs in response to multiple external signals. The C. elegans germ line is proving a valuable model for linking genetic, developmental, systemic, and environmental control of cell proliferation. Here, we consider recent studies that contribute to our understanding of germ cell proliferation in C. elegans. We focus primarily on somatic control of germline proliferation, how it differs at different life stages, and how it can be altered in the context of the life cycle and changes in environmental status. Developmental Dynamics 239:1449–1459, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.