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J Exp Bot. 2001 Feb;52(355):183-92.

Investigating the hows and whys of DNA endoreduplication.

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Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


Endoreduplication is a form of nuclear polyploidization that results in multiple, uniform copies of chromosomes. This process is common in plants and animals, especially in tissues with high metabolic activity, and it generally occurs in cells that are terminally differentiated. In plants, endoreduplication is well documented in the endosperm and cotyledons of developing seeds, but it also occurs in many tissues throughout the plant. It is thought that endoreduplication provides a mechanism to increase the level of gene expression, but the function of this process has not been thoroughly investigated. Numerous observations have been made of endoreduplication, or at least extra cycles of S-phase, as a consequence of mutations in genes controlling several aspects of cell cycle regulation. However, until recently there were few studies directed at the molecular mechanisms responsible for this specialized cell cycle. It is suggested that endoreduplication requires nothing more elaborate than a loss of M-phase cyclin-dependent kinase activity and oscillations in the activity of S-phase cyclin-dependent kinase.

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