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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2012 Sep;69(18):3037-51. doi: 10.1007/s00018-012-0974-9. Epub 2012 Apr 6.

How to halve ploidy: lessons from budding yeast meiosis.

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  • 1School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK.


Maintenance of ploidy in sexually reproducing organisms requires a specialized form of cell division called meiosis that generates genetically diverse haploid gametes from diploid germ cells. Meiotic cells halve their ploidy by undergoing two rounds of nuclear division (meiosis I and II) after a single round of DNA replication. Research in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast) has shown that four major deviations from the mitotic cell cycle during meiosis are essential for halving ploidy. The deviations are (1) formation of a link between homologous chromosomes by crossover, (2) monopolar attachment of sister kinetochores during meiosis I, (3) protection of centromeric cohesion during meiosis I, and (4) suppression of DNA replication following exit from meiosis I. In this review we present the current understanding of the above four processes in budding yeast and examine the possible conservation of molecular mechanisms from yeast to humans.

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