Somatic cell

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A somatic cell is a body cell from which, unlike the cells of the germ line, no sex cells ( gametes ) can emerge. This distinction between germ line and soma ( germplasm theory ) is characteristic of animals; there is no separate germline in plants.

Somatic cells develop in the course of life through differentiation as if in a dead end, which ends with the death of these cells. Changes in the genetic information of somatic cells therefore have no effect on the next generation. In the discussion about gene therapy , a distinction must therefore be made between the therapy of somatic cells, which only has an effect on the respective individual, and the change in the germ line, which affects all subsequent generations.


Helmut Plattner, Joachim Hentschel: Cell Biology. 4th edition, Georg Thieme Verlag, 2011, ISBN 3-131-65244-6 , p. 404f