In recent years, the developmental origins of diseases have been increasingly recognized and accepted. As such, it has been suggested that most adulthood chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even tumors may develop at a very early stage. In addition to intrauterine environmental exposure, germ cells carry an important inheritance role as the primary link between the two generations. Adverse external influences during differentiation and development can cause damage to germ cells, which may then increase the risk of chronic disease development later in life. Here, we further elucidate and clarify the concept of gamete and embryo origins of adult diseases by focusing on the environmental insults on germ cells, from differentiation to maturation and fertilization.
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Vol. 107 • No. 1