Blanche Capel Group (GUDMAP1)
The gonad forms initially as a bipotential primordia that is capable of developing into either a testis or an ovary. Whether a testis or ovary forms is determined by a critical cell fate decision in the early fetal gonad. Disruption of this primary decision is responsible for many of the phenotypes identified in the clinic as disorders of sexual development (DSDs).
We are interested in understanding the processes by which the XX or XY cells of the gonad make, initiate, and maintain their fate decisions. To gain further insight into these developmental processes, we examined gene expression by microarray analysis in each of the cell types (germ cells, supporting cells, interstitial cells, and endothelial cells) in the developing mouse testis and ovary at three time points spanning the period when the gonad decides its fate. This data provides a comprehensive picture of the development of the early gonad at the transcriptional level from the bipotential stage through the stage when distinct cell fates are established in the XX and XY gonads. We hope this will provide a basis for a better understanding of the general process of cell fate commitment as well as a means of understanding the origin of DSDs.