Special Issue "Weismann Barrier: What Is Left of It?"

A special issue of Journal of Developmental Biology (ISSN 2221-3759).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Chantal Wicky
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, Ch. du Musée 10, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
Interests: development; transcription; epigenetics; chromatin; molecular genetics; genetics; regulation of gene expression; transcriptional regulation; C. elegans

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Auguste Weismann postulated more than 120 years ago that germ cells are set apart from somatic cells very early during development. He observed that under the effect of a germ plasm, some cells in the embryo become germ cells, while others gave rise to the soma. Once specified, germ cells would develop further in an autonomous manner. A. Weismann was the first to propose a model for cell specification. His views implied that later in the development as well as during the lifetime of an organism, changes that occurred in the somatic cells would never be passed on to the germ cells. This gave rise to the theoretical concept of the “Weismann barrier”. A. Weismann rejected Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s ideas on the transgenerational inheritance of acquired traits.

Today, a growing number of studies indicates that this barrier can be overcome and that certain aspects of our life history can be passed on to the next generation. It is also known that many organisms do not have this barrier— in other words, this strict distinction between somatic cells and germ cells. Plants, tunicates, and planarians are some examples.

The purpose of this Special Issue of the Journal of Developmental Biology is to bring together research highlights, reviews or comments on recent findings about germ cell specification, the distinction between somatic and germ lineages, and the “Weismann barrier”.

Dr. Chantal Wicky
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Developmental Biology is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • germ cell specification
  • germ cell fate maintenance
  • germ plasm
  • transgenerational epigenetic inheritance
  • weismann barrier

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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