Abstract The nanos gene encodes a zinc-finger protein which is required for the migration and differentiation of primordial germ cells as well as for their fate maintenance. In this study, a 1913 bp nanos gene was cloned and characterized in silkworm ( Bombyx mori). RT-PCR and Western blot analysis showed that the nanos was expressed in developing embryos and various silkworm larval tissues. The expression patterns of Nanos and Vasa in silkworm larval gonads were analyzed using immunohistochemistry. It was found that, in silkworm larval ovaries, the Nanos and Vasa proteins were expressed in oocytes. While in testes, high expression of Nanos and Vasa was detected in spermatogonia and relatively weaker expression was found in spermatocytes at latter stages.