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Curr Biol. 2006 Mar 21;16(6):R217-28.

Checking your breaks: surveillance mechanisms of meiotic recombination.

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  • 1Center for Cancer Research and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, E17-233, 40 Ames Street, Cambridge Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Numerous DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are introduced into the genome in the course of meiotic recombination. This poses a significant hazard to the genomic integrity of the cell. Studies in a number of organisms have unveiled the existence of surveillance mechanisms or checkpoints that couple the formation and repair of DSBs to cell cycle progression. Through these mechanisms, aberrant meiocytes are delayed in their meiotic progression, thereby facilitating repair of meiotic DSBs, or are culled through programmed cell death, thereby protecting the germline from aneuploidies that could lead to spontaneous abortions, birth defects and cancer predisposition in the offspring. Here we summarize recent progress in our understanding of these checkpoints. This review focuses on the surveillance mechanisms of the budding yeast S. cerevisiae, where the molecular details are best understood, but will frequently compare and contrast these mechanisms with observations in other organisms.

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