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Genetics. 1985 Jun;110(2):187-216.

The role of the SPO11 gene in meiotic recombination in yeast.


Several complementary experimental approaches were used to demonstrate that the SPO11 gene is specifically required for meiotic recombination. First, sporulating cultures of spo11-1 mutant diploids were examined for landmark biochemical, cytological and genetic events of meiosis and ascosporogenesis. Cells entered sporulation with high efficiency and showed a near-doubling of DNA content. Synaptonemal complexes, hallmarks of intimate homologous pairing, and polycomplex structures appeared during meiotic prophase. Although spontaneous mitotic intra- and intergenic recombination occurred at normal levels, no meiotic recombination was observed. Whereas greater than 50% of cells completed both meiotic divisions, packaging of the four meiotic products into mature ascospores took place in only a small subset of asci. Haploidization occurred in less than 1% of viable colony-forming units. Second, the Rec- meiotic defect conferred by spo11-1 was confirmed by dyad analysis of spores derived from spo13-1 single-division meiosis in which recombination is not a requirement for viable ascospore production. Diploids homozygous for the spo13-1 mutation undergo meiotic levels of exchange followed by a single predominantly equational division and form asci containing two near-diploid spores. With the introduction of the spo11-1 mutation, high spore viability was retained, whereas intergenic recombination was reduced by more than 100-fold.

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