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A germ cell is a cell that gives rise to gametes (a gamete is a male or female reproductive cell) in an organism that reproduces sexually. Germ cells can become a source of pluripotent stem cells (cells that can differentiate and form cells from all three germ layers, that is, ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm) under certain conditions in vitro; these are called embryonic germ cells. These have many properties of embryonic stem cells but have somewhat limited fates, comparatively.

There are two types of cells in multicellular organisms: germ cells and somatic cells. Germ cells undergo meiosis (a process of sexual reproduction) and give rise to gametes, while somatic cells are all other types of cells in the body that undergo asexual reproduction (mitosis) only.

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