Difference Between Germ Cells and Somatic Cells (With Table)

Cells are an essential part of every living organism. The human body has trillions of cells that are grouped in different cells. Germs cells and somatic cells are used in transforming genes and growing organisms within the body. The duo has distinct functionalities and characteristics that the body functioning properly and repair or regenerates tissues.

Germ Cells vs Somatic Cells 

The difference between germs cells and somatic cells is that germ cells are used to produce new organisms through the process of sexual reproduction. On the other hand, somatic cells are diploid cells that are involved in asexual reproduction. They are the cells that do not contribute to generating gametes.

Germ cells are the unique cells in the human or any other living organism body that transforms genetic information from one generation to the next generation. They undergo meiosis and mitosis to generate eggs and sperms in female and male bodies. These emerge from the primitive streaks of the embryo and move to the gonads via the gut.

On the other hand, somatic cells are regular body cells that different functional systems like digestive systems, nervous systems, cardiovascular systems, and others. Somatic cells are responsible for growing organisms. Somatic cells are diploid cells that contain two sets of chromosomes. Different species and mammals have different sets of chromosomes.

Comparison Table Between Germ Cells and Somatic Cells 

Parameters of ComparisonGerm CellsSomatic Cells 
DefinitionGerm cells are the cells that reproduce new organisms through a sexual reproduction process.Somatic cells are the regular body cells that repair and reproduce the tissues.
Originated fromGerm cells are originated from primitive streaks of the embryo.Somatic cells are originated from stem cells.
FunctionGerm cells are used in producing gametes.They perform various functions in different tissues of the body.
ProcessThey undergo both mitosis and meiosis processes.They undergo the mitosis process.
MutationThe mutation is transformed from one generation to other.The mutation is not transformed to the next generation.

What are Germ Cells?

Germ cells transform the genetics from one generate to another during the reproductive process. Germ cells produce gametes to create offspring. The germ cells are introduced from a primitive streak of the embryo. They have unique characteristics over somatic cells in the body. They undergo meiosis to produce diploid chromosomes. 

In humans, germ cells are stemmed from primordial germ cells, which get separated during the embryogenesis process to become progenitors. The germ cells undergo both meiosis and mitosis to produce gametes, and the process is called gametogenesis. In this process, several cells are evolved in sequences called germline. The germline of a male starts with the sperm, and in females, it starts with O.

Germ cells are only used in the reproductive systems that undergo meiosis to generate egg cells and sperm cells. The germ cells are few in numbers as compared to somatic cells but affect the evolution process. These sperm cells and egg cells unite to form a new organism. They transform information from genes from one generation to another. 

Germ cells reside in the gonads. In females, the gonads are ovaries, and in males, gonads are testes. During the reproduction process, the females produce gametes called eggs and male gametes called sperms. In humans, gametes consist of 23 chromosomes. 

What are Somatic Cells?

Somatic cells are the regular body cells that arise from stem cells. In asexual reproduction, mitosis produces somatic cells that create two new cells from a mother cell. The somatic cells contain two chromosomes that are called diploids. In humans, somatic cells are diploid in other species, and polyploidy in plants is haploid. The diploid cells have 46 chromosomes in humans.

Living organisms have a various number of somatic cells, and their functionalities also vary based on time and environmental factors. For example, adults have three trillion somatic cells, which take different forms such as liver cells, blood cells, neuron cells, muscle cells, red blood cells, stomach cells, and so on. 

Neuron cells are present in the nervous system, blood cells in the cardiovascular system, liver cells, and stomach cells forms in the digestive system. Every cell in the body helps the human body to function well. During the replication process, these somatic cells undergo mutation.

However, these cells do not contribute to evolution. These cells are essential for living organisms, but they are not used to produce sperm cells. They originate clones by undergoing cloning. They are responsible for the progress of organisms in the body. 

Main Differences Between Germ Cells and Somatic Cells 

  1. Germ cells produce gametes to undergo sexual reproduction, whereas somatic cells perform various functions in the tissues of the body.
  2. Germ cells transform information of genes to the next generation, but somatic cells only repair and reproduce in one body.
  3. Germ cells contribute to creating offspring, but somatic cells do not contribute. 
  4. Germ cells undergo meiosis and mitosis processes, but somatic cells undergo only the mitosis process.
  5. Germ cells are situated in gonads of living organisms, but somatic cells are present everywhere in the body.

Conclusion

The cell cycle in living organisms allows the development or growth of multicellular organisms. Humans have trillions of cells in the body that are divided into different divisions. One is somatic cells that are regular body cells, which contain two sets of chromosomes derived from each parent. They repair and replace the cells throughout the life of the human.

The other one is the germ cells used in the reproduction of new organisms, which undergo meiosis and mitosis to produce eggs and sperms. These cells transform genetic information from one generation to other. Both germ cells and somatic cells are essential in the growth of organisms and the functioning of the organ systems.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012160607013930
  2. http://journals.ssu.ac.ir/ijrmnew/browse.php?a_id=74
  3. https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article-abstract/21/1/30/570618
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